Posted on: April 30, 2008 8:49 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2008 8:50 pm

So why the change?

In an older blog entry, dated April 19, about Al Sobotka's banning, Tony Hagen questions why the changes from the NHL's stance from last year.

My question still remains, who complained? Why now? What prompted this rule to be issued? Is $ 10,000 really necessary?

Those are very good questions that need to be answered honestly and without Gary Bettman spin. I posed a similar question too in my first blog about this octopi-matter. The change seems rather arbitrary to me. There was probably little or no research done either.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 28, 2008 8:06 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2008 8:09 pm

More octopus matter

More and more comments about the octopus matter are appearing online. Yesterday, George James Malik at mlive.com posted several story highlights. From John Niyo, Detroit News
The NHL's ban on Al Sobotka's pregame octopus swinging continues to get even more cumbersome. For Saturday's Game 2 against Colorado, standby referee Don Van Massenhoven was stationed at the zamboni entrance to handle the octopus(es) brought off the ice by the linesmen. He describes the Cody McLeod incident and two more that were thrown from Saturday's game, and concludes ... At some point, you'd think the NHL brass would come to their senses. But maybe that's just wishful thinking. Malik highlighted the Denver Post's Adrian Dater's story, and also Helene St. James' story from the Detroit Free Press. I posted James' story Sunday. Kudos to Malik for spotlighting Niyo's and especially Dater's. I forgot to check Denver papers, and Niyo's flew under my radar. Most members of LetsGoWings.com are pretty perturbed about the banning and the McLeod incident. One asked if McLeod should be fined for throwing an octopus, and another posted that if Red Wings fans are mad about the banning they should write the NHL. The address and phone number to League offices are listed in the thread.
At the CBS Sports online community a member started a thread titled, Fighting the Octopus Ban.
At YouTube.com I posted the McLeod lowlight from NBC's broacast.
The comments from the writers and fans in the articles and threads are well worth reading in my opinion.
To the see the photo- and video-rich blog entry click here.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 27, 2008 8:26 am
Edited on: April 27, 2008 9:02 am

Detroit, we have matter ...

Detroit Free Press cartoonist Mike Thompson ran another octopus twirling related blog with photos. This time he achieved Gary Bettman's worst fear - flying octopi-matter! Albeit it didn't cause any injuries and Thompson had to twirl it vigorously for several minutes before matter flew.
A Free Press writer calls the whole affair CSI: Hockeytown.

More comments about Saturday's octopus - McLeod incident

In the Free Press:
It was Cody McLeod who decided to shake a fist at Detroit's octopus tradition. While the NHL has forbidden the Wings from letting Zamboni driver Al Sobotka twirl any octopi on ice, the slimy creatures continue to land at the Joe. Several did Saturday, including the usual one timed to hit just as the national anthem ends. An earlier one had been cleared by a linesman; this one, McLeod decided to take care of. He skated over, picked it up, shook it toward the Wings bench while holding it clenched in his fist, then hurled it down the tunnel by the Avs' bench, forcing the usher to duck.

On the Sporting News comments section for the Red Wings - Avalanche game two I wrote this:
Cody McLeod should have been penalized, and since he wasn't, he should definitely be fined for his pre-game antics of retrieving, taunting with an octopus, and then throwing it into the stands. Al Sobotka, the Joe Louis Arena building operations manager, would have been fined $10,000 if he had done the same.
Currently I have a 73 percent approval rating from 11 votes.

Later another poster, mjdlynch, wrote this:
The NHL has to fine Cody McLeod $10k for shaking an octopus and throwing it into the Colorado bench.
If the rule is universal, then it must be applied to everyone. Al Sobotka most certainly would have been fined if he picked up an octopus, shook it in anyone's direction and threw it into the Avs's bench.
The NHL must step up and admit the rule is for everyone and not just against the most successful team in the league for the last twenty years.
Bettman has to fine McLeod or admit this rule is just against the Red Wings.
mjdlynch currently has an 89 percent approval rating from nine votes.
Posted on: April 26, 2008 8:57 pm

Fine McLeod now!

After the Red Wings - Avalanche game today Cody McLeod should receive the same fine that the NHL would level against Al Sobotka, the Joe Louis Arena building manger, if he retrieved and twirled an octopus. While McLeod didn't twirl the octopus, he did retrieve it and shook it at a Red Wings player. He didn't get the fine, but he should, and he should definitely have received a penalty for his antics. It was very unsportsmanlike.
The AP has the story, check the notes at the end of the story.

After an octopus was thrown on the ice before the game, Colorado's Cody McLeod picked it up, shook it in the direction of Detroit's Dallas Drake and threw it off the ice toward the Avs' dressing room. Why? "Just to let them know they were going to be in a battle," McLeod said. The NHL has threatened to fine the Red Wings if Zamboni driver Al Sobotka picks up octopi on the ice and twirls them, following a tradition in Detroit.
Posted on: April 26, 2008 1:26 pm

Wattsa octopus matter?

Wattsa octopus matter?

Mike Thompson, a Detroit Free Press cartoonist, posted a blog entry proving octopus matter doesn't fly off the handle, unlike the way Gary Bettman's NHL decisions do.

As the photos in the blog entry or below show, whether twirled fast or slow no matter flies from the octopus. The last photo clearly shows a plain, white shower curtain.

Mitch Albom, a Detroit Free Press journalist who is unbelievable writing NHL articles again, chimed in about the octopus matter in the first Red Wings - Avalanche game in round two.

... the other when they showed Al Sobotka taking the octopus he'd been told not to swing on the ice and swinging it in the tunnel instead.

Good for Al. He turned a stupid NHL edict into instant nostalgia.

And in yet another Free Press article, the writer references the matter as Octopus-gate.

The game marked the Wings' second at the Joe since being slapped with a octopus-twirling ban by the NHL late in round one.

But the saga of Octopus-Gate came up when a giant specimen landed on the ice in the usual spot; with Al Sobotka denied his right to twirl, it was up to linesman Jean Morin to shovel away the creature.

Here's to hoping Bettman's NHL will reverse the ludicrous decision.

To see the photo-rich blog entry click here.
Posted on: April 24, 2008 9:03 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2008 11:35 am

More Sobotka, octopi support

Al Sobotka, Joe Louis Arena building manger, received more support from writers, bloggers and fans who think the Sobotka ban is outrageously ridiculous.

The Detroit Free Press ran a photo essay of Al Sobotka.

Greg Wyshynski with Yahoo! sports wrote an article with two pro-octopi twirling videos on YouTube.com and another petition to sign for those who disagree with the ban.

Even Mitch Albom is back writing hockey articles again, at least for the playoffs. Imagine that. In yesterday's column he calls the new octopus rule "dumb."

Never mind that, for years, Al has gone onto the ice after an octopus is thrown during the national anthem or after a goal. And for years, he has had to pick the octopus up. And for years, he has walked off the ice, octopus in hand, and before disappearing, he has swung the thing over his head as fans cheered. Hey, it’s a greasy job.

He later compares the NHL to the No Fun League, the NFL. As I read some place else the NHL is now the No Humour League.

Today Red Wings TV posted videos of Sobotka swinging an octopus in front of the Fox Theater and Belle Tire.
I'm sure the Wings will show them during the game tonight.

To see the photo-rich blog entry click here.

Posted on: April 21, 2008 9:31 pm

Octopus's garden no longer

The Joe Louis Arena is no longer an Octopus's garden. I think I'm gonna be sad.

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry the NHL banned Al Sobotka, JLA's building operations manager, from retrieving and twirling an octopus when a fan throws one on the ice.
James Mirtle is tracking this too. Today, he posted Frank Brown's comment from last year about thrown octopi.

Frank Brown, the league’s vice president for media relations, said: “Every so often, an octopus slips out of someone’s hands, and Al is right there to take care of the matter. And he cannot be blamed if, as it tries to break free from Al’s grasp, the octopus lifts Al’s arm and twirls itself in the air.”
The New York Times, May 2007

What changed in nearly a year? Pressure from Brian Burke?
The banning is a shame, and it does make me sad.
Sobotka has a lot of history with the Wings, and the Wings have a lot of history with octopi. Versus calls it a cult following.
A LetsGoWings.com member started a petition pleading the NHL not to fine Sobotka.
Hopefully the NHL will reverse this recent decision.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com