That was a gag from the ’70s, when fighting–and bench clearing brawls–were common sights at NHL games. That was the decade of the Broad Street Bullies, and goon squads.
Things have sure changed. The third man in rule, rule and rule enforcement changes designed to make the game faster and more exciting, and perhaps most importantly, the influx of European, and most especially, Russian players into the NHL have transformed the game. Yes, there are still fights, but you go to a NHL hockey game now to see end-to-end action, finesse, and speed (the hallmarks of Soviet hockey at its zenith) rather than fisticuffs.
It is more than a little ironic, then, to read this (3 pix at the link):
Ice hockey-Russian clubs handed heavy fines after mass brawl
. . . .
Officials had no choice but to cancel the contest because the teams did not have enough players left to continue the game.
It was the first time a Russian hockey game has been called off due to a mass brawl.
Vityaz were fined four million rubles ($133,300) and warned they would be thrown out of the league if there were a similar incident while Siberian team Avangard escaped with a one-million ruble fine, the KHL said on their website (www.khl.ru).
The league also fined four players, Canadians Darsy Verot and Brandon Sugden from Vityaz and Avangard’s Russian pair Alexander Svitov and Dmitry Vlasenkov, 150,000 rubles each.
In addition, seven players — Vlasenkov and six from Vityaz, including both Verot and Sugden — received one-game suspensions and each club was awarded a 5-0 defeat.
Verot instigated the mass brawl after three minutes of play by firing the puck at an opposing player. The referees restarted the match after handing appropriate penalties but were forced to stop it again when another fight erupted a few seconds later.
This time, the match had to be abandoned after officials handed a record 691 penalty minutes to both sides.
691 penalty minutes. Takes me back. Dave “The Hammer” Schultz must be smiling.