Ray, Gratz duke it out

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Well, so much for Ray Emery not being involved enough in practice.

The Senators goaltender went toe-to-toe with club heavyweight Brian McGrattan near the end of the workout yesterday, livening up a slow patch here in the schedule.

Emery, adding another incident to a controversial season, was upset McGrattan cut him off and bumped him during a tough conditioning skate as practice wound down at Scotiabank Place.

The two yelled at each other and when McGrattan bumped Emery in the corner, the gloves and mask flew off and the two started firing punches.

Forward Antoine Vermette and other teammates jumped in to separate the two (unfortunately some might say).

Everybody in the Senators camp blew the incident off.

"(Emery) can throw them pretty good," said a smiling McGrattan afterward. "I've got to keep him sharp, too. You never know when he's going to have a fight. He's got to practice it the odd time, right?"

BATTLED PETERS

Emery was a star of the highlight reels last year when he fought with Buffalo tough guy Andrew Peters and did a pretty good job of handling himself, a smile on his face the whole time.

McGrattan said Emery would be a ranked contender if he tossed them on a regular basis.

"He'd probably be top five. Even with his gear on, he can fight. He can throw with both hands. He's tough and he can take a punch," said McGrattan. "It was a little spark at the end of practice. I think the boys got a kick out of it."

"That's sometimes how we sort things out," said Emery. "He kind of pushed me out of the way and I was yelling at him."

Senators coach John Paddock, who has criticized Emery's work habits and sent him home last week when he was late for practice, said he wasn't worried about Emery taking a dip in the deep end.

"He might win. I'd rather have him fighting (McGrattan) than (defenceman) Wade Redden fighting him," said Paddock. "It's really so inconsequential to me, I don't really care."

Senators centre Jason Spezza lived with both McGrattan and Emery when all three were playing with Binghamton of the AHL.

"It's boys being boys. Nothing out of the ordinary. I don't think anybody was too shocked. Stuff like that happens when you have spirited practices," said Spezza.

"They're best buddies, so there's probably more of a chance they're going to fight than anybody else because they know they can deal with it, laugh it off and nothing will happen of it tomorrow.

"It's like when you fight your brother. It's the person you're closest to, you feel like you can get away with that kind of stuff, blow off some steam and then you get forgiven for it. If it's two guys who aren't that close, then maybe that's when you start worrying a little bit."


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