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The Malik Report

The Red Wings’ octopus issue clarified: It’s the NHL’s rule, and Chris Osgood’s angry about it

Updated 4x at 4:34 with the gent in question on WDFN and Puck Daddy/James Mirtle talking to NHL VP of media relations Frank Brown: I hit the usual wall when talking to the City of Detroit and attempting to contact the Red Wings regarding the fact that there’s a $500 fine for throwing an octopus at Joe Louis Arena and moved onto other stuff, assuming that the mainstream media would get down to business today, but On the Wings’ Matt Saler deserves a ridiculous amount of credit for sticking with the story and getting to the bottom of things via a call to the Detroit Police department:

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. I asked if it applied to hats thrown down for a hat trick and Officer Bullock pointed out it’d be much harder to enforce on hundreds/thousands of hats versus a few octopi.

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.

Update:I don’t know what to say about this quip from the Sporting News’s Craig Custance:

The Red Wings issued this statement.

“The throwing of objects on the ice surface is prohibited by the National Hockey League and persons caught doing so may be subject to prosecution for violating local and state laws.”

There were at least four octopi thrown on the Joe Louis ice Wednesday, and goalie Jimmy Howard joked that he almost got hit by one during the national anthem. “It landed right in front of me,” he said.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the octopus controversy was news to him. “I don’t know anything about it,” he said. “I like calamari as much as the next guy. I don’t like batter on it, I like it spicy… it’s part of tradition here.”

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms, [edit at 3:15 PM: as does the Detroit News’s Rod Beard and the Free Press’s Helene St. James].

WXYT’s Jeff Riger got Chris Osgood to speak about the new rule

Update #2 also from Khan:

“I don’t know anything about it,’’ Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I like calamari as much as they next guy, I don’t like batter on it, but I like it spicy and cooked. It’s part of the tradition here. I just hope the guys that come on to scrape it off aren’t digging up the ice. I want it to be smooth.’‘

A couple of Phoenix players, including goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, said they’re not upset when an octopus lands onto the ice in their zone after the national anthem.

“It doesn’t bother me,’’ Bryzgalov said. “They’re not throwing the whole octopus on me. Otherwise I would stink.’‘

Update: Justin Rogers of MLive annotated the Osgood interview:

“It’s a little ridiculous they’re concerned about a tradition that goes on at our rink - or any other rink around the league for that matter,” Osgood said in an interview with 97.1-FM’s Jeff Riger. “Do they want everybody coming to the rink and sit up on their hands and not do anything? It’s gotten a little bit exaggerated. People are taking it a little bit too seriously.”

Trying to hammer home the point, Osgood wonders what restrictions the NHL will put on fans next.

“Other things that could change, maybe the consumption of just one beer game,” Osgood said. “To me, you come to a sporting event to have fun first and foremost. We can’t take this too far and start taking away what people are there to do.”

Osgood says he can’t recall a player on another team complaining about the tradition.

“I just remember one of their players taking it and firing it off the ice because he was mad that we scored,” he said. “I don’t think he had much of a gripe.”

With the league coming down hard on fan celebrations, Osgood wonders why there isn’t a greater focus to some of the game’s more pressing issues on the ice.

“Let’s worry about the ice conditions around the league first,” Osgood said, “fix that all around the league, and do the other things we need to take care of, and stop worrying about the fans.”

Update #2A: Here’s Tommy B on WDFN’s Sean, Terp and Killer show:


Download File.

Update #2b: Here’s the NHL via Puck Daddy:

The NHL, then, views this latest controversy as nothing new. NHL VP of Media Relations Frank Brown sees this controversy as a “rite of spring,” and something that comes up in the first-round of the playoffs every April. He said the NHL has not wavered from its stance that the tradition is against League policy for fan behavior.

“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. “We have tremendous respect for the custom. We get that part. But not to the point of indulging improper behavior from spectators,” he said.

After our conversation, Brown sent over the following 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.”

According to the NHL, the City of Detroit Legal Department has prosecuted fans for throwing an octopus on the ice surface, with the determining factor in whether it violated a local misdemeanor ordinance (section 39.1.1 and 39.1.2) being whether the object could have caused injury to the participants or damage to the playing surface.
...
Also, the League pointed out that Michigan State Law—specifically MCL 750.167, Disorderly Person (misdemeanor) section 167. (e) — states that a “disorderly person” is anyone intoxicated in a public place that is “endangering the safety of another person, or of property.” According to the League, Michigan State Police “have prosecuted a Detroit Red Wings fan” that threw an octopus while violating that statute.

Update #3: Per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle:

UPDATE Asked if the NHL was behind the fines, league spokesman Frank Brown provided the following statement late this afternoon: “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.”

With no exceptions, apparently.

So here’s my question, Wings fans: Who’s passing the buck here? The Red Wings, who have sold you and me so many stuffed Al the Octopus toys and/or t-shirts and merchandise with Al the Octopus on them, and have a pre-game ceremony in which an inflatable octopus is raised to the rafters before all playoff games…or the NHL, to whom the Red Wings must pay a rights fee for using their own logo on said merchandise…or the City of Detroit, which is, well, the City of Detroit?

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Comments

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w2j2's avatar

So…once again Little Gary is targeting the Red Wings and their unique traditions.

Nothing new…....we get it every year.

We saw it again in the penalties in game 1.

F*ck you, Bettman!!!

snake

Posted by w2j2 on 04/15/11 at 03:44 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

FUCH YOU, GARY.  ASS

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 04/15/11 at 03:48 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Pathetic.

Screw you, NHL.

Regarding the statement from the Wings, I read that as their backhanded way of saying, “This is the NHLs rule, not our rule, and we want no part of it.”

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/15/11 at 03:52 PM ET

Avatar

I have instructed the JLA ushers not to apprehend any octopi tossers. I have also asked the DPD officers who patrol JLA during games to henceforth remand any octopi tossers, who are turned over to DPD by NHL officials, to the new JLA detention sky box. Their punishment will be to sit in said sky box with Kenny Holland for the remainder of the game.

Posted by Mr. I on 04/15/11 at 03:54 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

If your’e worried about ice condition, GTFO of the desert.

If you’re worried about player safety, get your concussion policies straight.

Screw you NHL.

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/15/11 at 03:57 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

So can’t the Detroit Police tell the NHL to go stuff it?  I know if I was an officer at the game I’d have selective blindness.  And have they spoken to other teams?  There was a salmon(?) thrown on the ice in Vancouver the other day. 

http://holdoutsports.blogspot.com/2011/04/fan-throws-salmon-onto-ice-at-vancouver.html

And there have been other teams copy-catting the Wings.  I think a catfish was thrown in Nashville a while back.  Who has called those teams?

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 04/15/11 at 03:59 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

I have instructed the JLA ushers not to apprehend any octopi tossers. I have also asked the DPD officers who patrol JLA during games to henceforth remand any octopi tossers, who are turned over to DPD by NHL officials, to the new JLA detention sky box. Their punishment will be to sit in said sky box with Kenny Holland for the remainder of the game.

Posted by Mr. I on 04/15/11 at 01:54 PM ET

This would be great.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 04/15/11 at 04:01 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

<tinfoil> Doan whined to Gary who luvs his little puppies (read: dead dogs) in the desert and decided to give the Police a call </tinfoil

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/15/11 at 04:01 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The best solution here is for the Detroit Police to say “we’re doing our best to apprehend these people, but we’re also working within the resources and constraints we have.”  and then just let this go.  It’s probably what’s going to happen anyway.

It’s the same concept as the NHL saying “yes, believe us, we’re looking at head shots as hard as we can”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/15/11 at 04:04 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Throwing dead things onto the playing surface is kind of a grotesque tradition. I can see why the NHL wouldn’t want to be seen as condoning it.

Let the flames begin, I guess.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 04/15/11 at 04:06 PM ET

Cwix's avatar

Fuching Bull Sh*t. Someone needs to throw Buttman on the ice.

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Chicago, IL on 04/15/11 at 04:10 PM ET

MisfitJake's avatar

The NHL Network have those little promo’s explaining the tradition, where it started, what it means, etc…

Can they be considered an accessory to the crime?

Posted by MisfitJake on 04/15/11 at 04:13 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I’ll. take my tinfoil hat off when they pry it from my oversized head. Score another one for the JA’s running the NHL, and yes evilpens, that includes Head Jack-A** gary bettman.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/15/11 at 04:16 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

If you’re worried about player safety, get your concussion policies straight.

Winner.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/15/11 at 04:36 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

just need to overwhelm them like a hat trick, hand them out at the door. What if a hundred
little stanleys go splat….. enforce that ya ba##ards

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/15/11 at 04:38 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

I was on the jumbotron wednesday with my foil hat. Had my picture taken two or three times. Probably wear a bigger one tomorrow.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/15/11 at 04:40 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Officer Bullock informed me that the enforcement of Municipal Code 38-5-4 is at the request of the NHL.

So tell
the NHL
to go to Hell.

(Not a haiku, but I liked the way it rhymed).

Really, what is Gary.Ass going to do if the Detroit Police Dept. simply ignores his “request?”

Loved Uncle Mike’s comment.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/15/11 at 04:49 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

This is crazy. Maybe Mr. I will step up and pay the fines for these fans. If not, the 19 really should create a fund to pay for these tickets.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/15/11 at 04:59 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Son.Of.A.Bitch.

Really, Gary.Ass?  You can’t even get us a straight answer to the questions regarding the debts incurred by PHX, ATL, NYI, and FLA; no clear objectives in the concussion issues; and still stuck without a bona fide national broadcasting package and you’re going to tell a 60+ year old tradition to simply, “Stop doing that?”

I got a pair of size 9 steel-toed Wolverines looking to kick you in the teeth.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/15/11 at 04:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Does anybody else feel like we’re kinda getting played here?  Does the tinfoil hat work both ways?

First, the NHL has “leaks” to major media outlets who start talking right before the series starts about Phoenix is packing their bags for Winnipeg as soon as they’re out of the playoffs - what should be a MAJOR distraction for the Phoenix players.

Now, the NHL, as the big, evil bad guys who everybody already hates picks on Detroit fans, gets them riled up, gets news of this to the Red Wings locker room, giving the Wings something to get riled up about and take it out on the Coyotes (even if Phoenix talks about how they’re cool with the tradition).

Let’s face it, if series’ are decided on financial decisions, then it makes more financial sense for the league to send the Red Wings into round 2. The Red Wings are one of the teams that pay 60% of playoff revenues into the revenue sharing pot (as opposed to 40% of Phoenix’s).  Sure, the owners have control of the Coyotes, so the 60% the organization gets could technically go to their pockets, except it wouldn’t because the Yotes are still in debt.  Since the Wings pay 60% of playoff revenue (including parking fees), their 20,066-seat arena (including parking) still works out to a hell of a chunk of change compared to 40% from an arena that holds 17,534 (with no parking).

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/15/11 at 05:00 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

Sec. 38-5-4. - Same—Throwing of bottles, cans, etc., prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to cast, throw, hurl or fling any bottle, can, receptacle, or any other object which could cause injury or damage in the spectator area where any athletic contests or exhibition is conducted or into or upon the area used for the conduct of such contests or exhibition while the same is in progress and during intermissions and delays of such contest or exhibition.

so if i read this right, would that mean octopi are a receptacle? or do they cause injury or damage?

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/15/11 at 05:07 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

Oh man Ozzy is great. “I don’t even know if Bettman could throw an octopus.”

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/15/11 at 05:10 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

Sec. 38-5-2. - Disturbance of religious worship or public meetings.

No person shall, by talking, laughing or otherwise, interrupt the service of any place of religious worship or any public meeting.

could we claim gb is interrupt a religious worship of our beloved red wings?

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 04/15/11 at 05:19 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

i guess the coyotes had their feelings “hurt” . I suppose that’s an injury

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/15/11 at 05:21 PM ET

Avatar

I’m surprised nobody saw this coming. The NHL’s looked the other way on this Detroit Octopus tradition after essentially banning it fourteen years ago in response to the Rat thing they used to do at the National Car Rental Center in South Florida, which was not nearly as disgusting.

If they keep looking the other way that opens the door to Colby Armstrong getting his nose broken by frozen Waffles in the middle of play, and we can’t have that.

Posted by steviesteve on 04/15/11 at 05:24 PM ET

Jennemy of the Skate's avatar

Yet another reason to hate Gary.Ass. Thank you Ozzy for speaking out. How much do any of you want to bet that Ozzy will be fined for his comments?

Posted by Jennemy of the Skate from the bar car on the stress train on 04/15/11 at 05:37 PM ET

Ozzie30's avatar

I’m willing to contribute $5-$10 towards each fine this season.  Get 50-100 others on board and it becomes a moot point.

Posted by Ozzie30 on 04/15/11 at 05:40 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Fuch You, Bettman.

If it was your sweet little Penguins throwing bobbleheads of Sid on the ice you’d be rubbing one out to video replays all night. If it was Chicago, a market you drool over, they could let Stan Makita and Phil Esposito take their walkers on the ice after every goal to celebrate, and you’d make sure NHL.Com did story after story of the uniqueness of it all.

The octopus tradition in Detroit is bigger than you’ll ever be, Bettman.

I hope fans at the Joe throw octopi on the ice all day tomorrow, just to show Bettman and Co.

And I hope Red Wings fans all over North America set up a Pay Pal account to pay for the bail for anyone thrown in jail due to Bettman’s unbridled hate for the greatest franchise in sports.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/15/11 at 06:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Thus far, @Mpetrella is attempting to make a t-shirt, you can read Osgood’s comments above, fans are furious on Twitter, and the guy was interviewed on WDFN. His fine will be paid, big time, and if you’re not on Twitter, I’d encourage you to sign up because the Wings community is rallying around this cause…

And let’s not forget that the RED WINGS MAKE LOTS OF MONEY OFF THE OCTOPUS TRADITION.

Seen Al?

Or the playoff pre-game opener?

Do you own an Al the Octopus stuffed toy, or a Wings t-shirt with an octopus on it?

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/15/11 at 06:02 PM ET

scotts0's avatar

“It doesn’t bother me,’’ Bryzgalov said. “They’re not throwing the whole octopus on me. Otherwise I would stink.’‘


Too late, Bryzgalov.  You already stink.

That was way too easy.

Posted by scotts0 from New York on 04/15/11 at 06:05 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Throwing dead things onto the playing surface is kind of a grotesque tradition. I can see why the NHL wouldn’t want to be seen as condoning it.

Let the flames begin, I guess.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Ottawa on 04/15/11 at 02:06 PM ET

Dude, you have an avatar of Chretien…you’re the last one to complain about sick and dead things.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/15/11 at 06:11 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

If the Detroit pigs don’t particularly like enforcing the rule then all they have to do is say, “I didn’t see who threw it” and there’s no issue. 

The NHL can suck my nutsack.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 04/15/11 at 06:18 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Officer Bullock informed me…

I’d pay $500 to be arrested by Officer Bullock smile

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/15/11 at 06:27 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

I asked if it applied to hats thrown down for a hat trick and Officer Bullock pointed out it’d be much harder to enforce on hundreds/thousands of hats versus a few octopi.

Annnnnnnnnnnd…...........theres yur loophole.

A bountiful, well, coordinated launching of the 8 legged wonders would be unenforceable. 

Not that I am advocating anything here.  At all. cool grin

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the prospect shuffle.... on 04/15/11 at 06:31 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The Red Wings issued this statement.

“The throwing of objects on the ice surface is prohibited by the National Hockey League and persons caught doing so may be subject to prosecution for violating local and state laws.”

“...may…”  Operative word.  When the ushers and security at the Joe feel like it.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/15/11 at 06:46 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I’m no lawyer so I’ll ask a question to those that are:  If the rationale for not throwing is safety then how is throwing a hat any different?  Shouldn’t you ban all objects thrown on the ice?  And if you do and don’t fine and arrest hat throwers isn’t that selective enforcement and a form of discrimination?

Posted by calquake on 04/15/11 at 08:07 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The rationale from the NHL was that they can’t crack down on hats. Too many perps.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/15/11 at 08:15 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I’m no lawyer so I’ll ask a question to those that are:  If the rationale for not throwing is safety then how is throwing a hat any different?  Shouldn’t you ban all objects thrown on the ice?  And if you do and don’t fine and arrest hat throwers isn’t that selective enforcement and a form of discrimination?

Posted by calquake on 04/15/11 at 06:07 PM

1) Hats are no different. 2) All objects are banned. 3) Selective enforcement is apparently legal, just ask Barry Bonds (Greg Anderson’s other clients said the same thing Bonds did re cream clear, flaxseed.). 4) Not all forms of discrimination are illegal, for example, discriminating against douchebags and Ducks fans is perfectly legal because they are not members of a protected class like gender, race, religion and national origin.

Where do I send my bill? wink

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/15/11 at 08:23 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Where do I send my bill? 
Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 04/15/11 at 06:23 PM ET

I knew my bait wouldn’t be in the water long. cheese

Posted by calquake on 04/15/11 at 08:54 PM ET

calquake's avatar

The rationale from the NHL was that they can’t crack down on hats. Too many perps.
Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/15/11 at 06:15 PM ET

That arguement from the league holds no water because you could crack down one at a time.  And because no one, except Sully apparently, is fined or arrested for this it kinda proves the point.

Posted by calquake on 04/15/11 at 09:01 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.