Blog Entry

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Posted on: April 15, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 5:40 pm
For all of downtown Detroit’s troubles, the NHL apparently wants to address what it sees as a major scourge. 

The tradition of tossing octopi on the ice. 

Matt Saler of the blog On the Wings reports the NHL has asked Detroit to enforce a city ordinance, which apparently caused one fan to be ejected from Wednesday’s Game 1 and put him on the hook for a $500 fine:
"Officer Bullock informed me that the enforcement of Municipal Code 38-5-4 is at the request of the NHL. Evidently, police supervisors were informed Wednesday night, either before or during the game, by League representatives that they don’t want anything thrown on the ice. An officer has to witness the throw and nab the thrower on the spot, but it’s something they can and will enforce. Apparently, distance from players is not an issue: any octopus on the ice is grounds for ejection and a fine."

The interesting part is that the Wings are not the ones asking for it. According to Officer Bullock, they’re fine with the tradition, and even like it. And I gather the police aren’t big fans of enforcing it either. It’s up to the officer’s discretion, so it’s possible fans may still get away with it at times. But with NHL officials pushing for it, it’s less safe to throw than it ever has been. Previously, it may have been a bit of an empty threat. Now it has teeth.

According to Yahoo! hockey blog Puck Daddy , NHL spokesman Frank Brown wouldn’t confirm that the league is asking for police to enforce the city code: 
"I don't believe it's anything new, but I'm waiting to hear back from our security. It's a safety issue. You throw stuff on the ice, people get their skates caught in it, they fall down and hurt themselves. It's wrong. That's a problem," said Brown, in a phone interview this afternoon.

The NHL then sent out this statement: 
"NHL security did not direct that this person be arrested or ejected. We do have a prohibition against throwing things to the ice surface since this may cause a delay in game or injury to players or others working on the ice surface."

This eight-legged controversy began to swirl when Deadspin reported an account from the fan who allegedly was the target of police:
All of a sudden, a guy from there said, "You're going to jail. Come with me." Granted, not a thing happened to the prior folks, or any other game. I went down and was charged. Really, it's AN octopus in Detroit in a hockey game! They kick me out, fined me $500 and I have to go to court. I paid $150 for my ticket [but] now will pay $500 more. That's $217 a period.

Although the tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice dates back to 1952, opponents have complained for years that chunks of the sea creature are often left on the surface. That could create a safety concern, although there have been no reports of that any player was injured because of it. The Red Wings were threatened with a $10,000 fine three years ago if famed Zamboni driver Al Sobotka swung any octopi he picked up off the ice. 

-- A.J. Perez

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: April 17, 2011 8:21 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Pathetic. Throw out a guy who has maintained a rather unusual but interesting tradition, but continue to allow grown men to fight and not get suspended for it. This is why the NHL is on VS and only rarely on a network and the lowest rated one @ that.

Bettman and his minions are making hockey more and more irrelevant each and every year. What a shame such a great sport that Gretzky spent a decade building up in the states is now just an after thought.

Hockey is a great sport. The NHL is a joke.

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: April 17, 2011 7:51 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Yet, you understood what I was talking about.  Obviously, you didn't catch the sarcasm because I was trying to post as dumb as the poster I mentioned.  The poster who doesn't watch hockey because he hates it decided to chime in and say a hockey tradition should not exist.  He shouldn't bother naysaying a great hockey tradition.  Since he is a national league baseball fan I knew the DH thing would get him going.

Since: Jun 22, 2008
Posted on: April 17, 2011 7:36 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

It would be nice if Bettman and his NHL brass would just GO AWAY!  This is a Detroit tradition for over 60 years. Nobody seems to care except for NHL big shots who want to throw their weight around. 

Since: Nov 7, 2006
Posted on: April 17, 2011 7:20 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Then I guess anyone throwing a hat after a player scores their 3rd goal of the night should be arrested fopr throwing stuff on the ice as well. In MLB, anyone throwing the baseball back should be arrested too!

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: April 17, 2011 6:56 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Since is a known fact that the Red Wings Organization is in favor of the act, because they have a lackey throw out one at the end of the National Anthem, I feel that the Red Wings should shoulder any fines & tickets given to fans. How can it be that the police choose the ignore it when someone from the Organization throws it out but not when a real fan does it.
Don't beleive me....Go back & look at the tape. There are only two different guys who throw it out for every game. It always happens at the end of the Anthem. It is always caught on camera because the cameramen have been tipped as to which aisle the octopus will be thrown from.
If the NHL wants Detroit to stop this decades long tradition, at the one team that's been in the playoffs each of the last 20 years, why don't they just instruct the refs to tilt the ice, just like they do whenever Sid the Kid is on national TV? That way the Wings miss the playoffs and the NHL doesn't have to acknowledge the Wings are a premier team in the league.
Meamwhile, let the cops ignore it when the Wings Organization breaks (like they did with Kwame & City Government) but rain down like a ton of feces on the average fan who wants to show support the way the Wings Organiztion does.

Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: April 17, 2011 5:51 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Why do I have a feeling that PETA had something to do with this?

Since: Jun 11, 2007
Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:55 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

So I guess if they could "recycle" the octopi somehow, most people would be ok with it then,huh? I mean, there is no way that just because some octopus gets thrown on the ice, that the ice is going to be dangerous, i mean come on, it's ice people. Back to the recycle, they could use the captured cephalopod to feed "local" that's fine dining for a pig :-) Or ground it up and feed it to farm-raised fish hatchery fish...just some ideas. NHL is pissed b/c they think it gives an unfair advantage and stops play unnecessarily, but you can't stop what you can't catch! Maybe we should stop throwing hats after a hat trick and NHL can stop advertising such a tradition on their own network, how about that!!!!!! They just want control and they feel like they don't have that in this situation. Go Wings!!! My beard is long!!!!

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:38 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Something to be said for "leaving well enough alone".  An article like this just may open up the flood gates of throwers now akin to the Rats in Florida.  Yes this has been going on long enough but so has Dick Vitale.  All stupid things must someday come to an end (baby!).

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:32 pm

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Just trying point out how POINTLESS this "tradition" is. Your retort to my argument is very telling, thanks for opening my eyes further

You make statements like that and want people to respond to your posts in a professional manner?   Since when do YOU get to decide what traditions are or are not "pointless"????  There are traditions world wide in not only sports but in every city and nationality that people follow and respect.  For every tradition that hundreds, thousands or even millions  respect there are at least that many or more that don't.   What you think truly means nothing.... actually less than nothing if that's possible.....
What this comes down to is the following.  If the NHL had a problem with this Wings tradition they should have put a stop to it a long long time ago.  Don't wait until the 2011 playoff season to make these decisions.  And if you are going to wait until the year 2011 to put a stop to it, do it during the off season when it makes sense to discuss changes that affect the game.   If Bettman and his cronies are against this Wings tradition then wait until the summer and put it on the table for the board of governors, the owners who have 10's of millions at risk in this game to make a decision.
But to do it now.... is flat out stupid, regardless of what you think. 

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: April 17, 2011 9:11 am

NHL behind push to eject, fine octopi tossers?

Ummmm, bowyerpa......there are already 3 bases around the baseball diamond.  The 4th is called home "plate".  A base is a place you can stop and be safe after the ball is put into play.  You can't stop and hang out at home "plate".  Also, the National League does use a designated hitter during interleague play and during the World Series.  If you're going to use sarcasm....try a little harder.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or