Russian Hockey's Getting Feisty
There was a time when Russians weren't too enamored with North America's version of hockey.
Since the Soviet national team of ...ahem ... amateurs kept winning Olympic golds -- seven outa nine from 1956 to 1988, and not counting the CIS gold -- they had no reason to believe differently.
Among other things, there was that game in 1976 between the Central Red Army and Philadelphia's Broad Street Bullies:
Well, with the Wall long since down and the Soviet system consigned to the dustbin of history -- for now -- the North American way of doing things has permeated Russian society. That, of course, includes hockey, but with a twist.
There, it's the coaches who mix it up, and not even a cop in a furry hat is gonna stop them. Take note that the bald dude muscling in on the home team's bench is the opponent's coach:
While it seems like the Putin meme is still trending in Russia these days ...
... at least the dude had some sense of decorum when he left the ice after being ejected:
There are major and minor penalties in the rule book, but who knew there were gulag-level infractions?
So, as Russian coaches blaze new trails in pugilism -- and while fighting seems to be reserved for special occasions in the NHL these days -- it's apparently up to that country's players of tomorrow to confirm that a generation of access to NHL games has truly left a global impression.
The old days are gone -- for now -- but not forgotten.