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Put 'Em Up!

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
This fighting in sports other than hockey has got to stop.


Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder is all over the morning sports shows this week, duking it out with pitcher Manny Parra in the dugout.

Brewers’ manager Ned Yost, said the scrap was “private. It’s between us and it’s not a big deal. It’s not the first time it ever happened and it won’t be the last.”

That part seems sure enough. Last year, Yost tangled with catcher Johnny Estrada in the tunnel near the dugout.

This thing happens all the time Remember when Jays’ manager John Gibbons had a knockabout with pitcher Ted Lilly under the Rogers Centre stands?

When was the last time someone in hockey tried to beat up a teammate? You know, really threw down the gloves and went at it?  Someone not named Ray Emery.

And that’s my point. Ray Emery was a year removed from leading his Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals. He tangos with Chris Neil and Brian McGrattan in practice and the next thing he knows, he’s checking out apartments in Minsk.

That friends is a zero tolerance policy.

You fight your friends in hockey, no one forgets.

Oh, there are the usual scraps in early training camp, where two burly co-conspirators try to catch the eye of the coach. It’s little more than empty theatre, and many teams discourage training camp tussles, although you have to admit, they set a certain mood.

But real fights between hockey players on the same team? I can’t recall the last one.

Contrast the NHL’s standard with baseball and football.

Remember when Robert Baker smacked his Argonaut teammate Noel Prefontaine. Honestly, who beats up a kicker?

Or the time receiver Michael Westbrook of the Redskins worked over running back Stephen Davis?

Carolina Panther receiver Steve Smith broke the nose of teammate Ken Lucas at practice the other day. Smith was sent home but that probably do little for Lucas’s nose.

Now, let me say here and now, I don’t like fighting in hockey. Too Roman, too pointless and it has no impact on the game.

But I know a double standard when I see one. Networks, usually American, love to portray hockey players as goons. They love depicting hockey as a bloodsport, right up there with ultimate fighting.

So how come no one is calling football a bloodsport? Same with baseball. At least when hockey players fight, they do it with guys wearing different colours.
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