Just a couple weeks ago, in Don Cherry’s National Hockey League The Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres had a full on brawl. Buffalo was retaliating for a clean, but perhaps overexuberant, hit on one of their star frowards Chris Drury. Everybody fought everybody else on the next shift. Including the goalies. The coaches go bananas and yell at each other, and the fans love it. The NHL dished out a slap on the wrist fine to Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff for putting a bunch of thugs on the ice to start this, but it passed by without much more than some extra time on the highlight reel. Listen to these announcers too: “Is there anything better?” one asks rhetorically.
Compare that to an event four days later, thousands of miles away and a culture far removed from that of hockey.
The Carling Cup Final 2007 pitted two of Englands biggest and best, Chelsea and Arsenal, against one another. Chelsea won 2-1 but the game was marred by a fracas at the very end. 3 players got sent off with red cards, and there was much hand-wringing and bemoaning of the incident in the press.
Now I’m not a violent guy, but a goalie fight in hockey is exciting. And the Carling Cup pushing match maybe really did spoil the event, as many pundits claimed. All I’m saying is that it raises my eyebrows to see the juxtaposition so starkly. Plus footballers fight like girls.