Alaskan buddies to battle

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

TORONTO - Should Joey Crabb and Brandon Dubinsky whack each other’s shin pads on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, it’s not a prelude to a fight.

In the midst of what is usually a heated game in front of lively fans, the two Anchorage, Alaska, natives likely will exchange the hockey-style greeting far, far from their hometown.

Both are in unexpected circumstances this season, Dubinsky the leading scorer on a Rangers team that is supposed to be fronted by Marian Gaborik, while Crabb was a Marlie farmhand until the Nazem Kadri experiment was shelved and he was given the job of clearing room for Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.

“I knew Brandon was a good player, but it’s really great to see him get that high,” Crabb said Tuesday at the MasterCard Centre. “We both go home in the summer, though I might only see him at the golf course. Anchorage is a big city, but the hockey community itself is very small.”

Crabb says they played each other at least once before in Atlanta in Crabb’ brief tenure as a Thrasher.

“We might have said something quick between whistles or I whacked his pad as I went by,” Crabb recalled, “but I’m just looking forward to another Leafs game and playing my first one in New York.”

Crabb has six assists in 12 games. Ironically, he was a Rangers pick, 226th overall back in 2002. Dubinsky is three years younger, but was a Rangers second-rounder in ’04 and played as early as 2006-07.


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