The NHL's latest decision - banning Al Sobotka from retrieving and twirling a thrown octopus from the Joe Louis Arena ice - certainly seems intolerant and authoritarian to me.
From the linked Detroit Free Press article:
In an e-mail to the Free Press, NHL spokesman Frank Brown gave this explanation: "Because matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice when he does it." The Wings wouldn't comment.
Ducks general manager Brian Burke complained about Sobotka's swinging last year. Before Friday's game, an octopus landed on the ice, as usual, and Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon whacked it aside with his stick.
The Free Press has more today.
UPDATED: Dr. Steve O'Shea director of the Earth & Oceanic Sciences Research Institute at the Auckland University of Technology told me in an e-mail, "There's no 'matter' that could fly off and cause a hazard to players, but should a twirled octopus rupture and send its guts over the face or clothes of a player I can imagine there'd be an element of yuckiness." True, but I imagine avoiding yuckiness isn't the primary concern of hockey players as they dodge hip checks and flying pucks.
Other fascistic examples just this past season - the heavy-handed institution of the RBK Edge jerseys and dismissing an 84-game schedule option.
Many fans, and more importantly the players, have raised concerns over the new sweaters.
Yet in Gary Bettman's reign, the NHL stood by the new easy-to-tear jerseys. Bettman claimed just one player liked them. Many players complained about them. The Washington Capitals players received all new configurations of the new sweaters. Check toward the bottom of this link, it's titled Autumn Sweaters. More complaints are about them here, but now all links aren't available.
Bettman also frowned upon the Red Wing organization's suggestion of an 84-game schedule for next season. This would have allowed every team to visit every other team's arena at least once in a season, while extending the season two games and trimming the pre-season by the same number.
Sometimes its not even the choices Bettman's NHL makes, it's Bettman's know-it-all attitude and the way he forces his choices unilaterally that perturbs fans, players and many others in my opinion. The decisions and in some cases the lies, spins and cover-ups to make them palatable, certainly seem fascistic to me. Hardly fantastic.