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Blackhawks and North Stars bring fake fights and laughs to alumni game rivalry

MINNEAPOLIS – The night before the alumni game at TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota North Stars Hall of Fame forward Dino Ciccarelli and Chicago Blackhawks Hall of Famer Denis Savard spoke cordially.

The two discussed their battles during all the years when their two teams were intense rivals and what those games were like from opposite sides.

There was no contempt or anger in their talk.

So it caught Ciccarelli off guard when Savard went after him early in their outdoor game Saturday, an eventual 6-4 win by a team made up of North Stars and Wild alum against Chicago Blackhawks alumni.

“It kind of caught me by surprise. Normally he wouldn’t do that unless (enforcer Al) Secord was on the same line,” Ciccarelli joked. “Just a great weekend and a great day and the support was amazing by the Minnesota fans.”

The rivalry between was the two was muted to some degree, lost in the celebration of the North Stars, a group that moved to Dallas after the 1992-93 season and reborn for one game Saturday.

“To see those guys, to see them in a different light, we had an opportunity to talk to them last night and have some fun and some laughs,” former Blackhawks forward Troy Murray said. “There was a little bit of intensity in the game and the pace was good but obviously both teams were out there to enjoy it more than anything else. It was just a great experience to be out there and see the North Stars jersey for the first time in a long time was pretty special.”

Along with the fight, some of the old Norris Division nastiness was brought up at points. Between 1982 and 1991, the North Stars and the Blackhawks faced one another in the playoffs six times overall.

Minnesota’s Brad Maxwell slashed Murray on the hand, which led to a penalty shot goal by Murray.

“I haven’t taken a penalty shot in 20 years. I had no idea what I was going to do,” Murray said after jokingly showing a small bruise on his finger.

Mike Modano, who started his career with the North Stars before cementing his Hall of Fame stature in Dallas called the Norris Division “one of the toughest divisions I’ve ever played in.”

Added Modano, “There’s a lot of history between those two teams and some great playoff series we had.”

Though the Wild are the host team for this weekend’s Stadium Series event, which culminates with a Sunday contest between them and the Blackhawks, Saturday belonged to the North Stars.

Even the Blackhawks were passengers for the North Stars’ moment.

“A lot of fun being around the guys you had those big rivalries with,” said former Chicago defenseman Chris Chelios. “A lot of guys had kids who had never seen them play, they probably got a kick out of that too.”

The jerseys worn by the players had the North Stars logo on the front, with the Wild’s on the shoulder. The color scheme was all North Stars.

Wild players who grew up in Minnesota were giddy at the opportunity to wear the North Stars mock jersey.

“It was really neat to be a part of it and be a part of the whole thing,” Former Wild forward and Richfield native Darby Hendrickson said. “There’s still big respect for that emblem and who they were and what you grew up watching and all the characters. You saw that today for one day and a couple of days you get to hear their stories and their laughs and it’s a very special.”

Afterwards players were passing around autograph items in the locker rooms at TCF Bank Stadium. A lot of them were drinking Coor’s Light, trying to unwind from the emotion of the day.

“Believe it or not it was good to see guys you had battles with,” Chelios said. “It’s been 30 years for some of the guys. Great guys. Everybody at the end of the day is a good person. Been fun mingling with them the last couple of days.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!