The Malik Report
Update 12:04 PM: George cannot count at 5 AM: Given that there’s a new law on the books in the City of Detroit, civil infraction 38-5-4, known between you and me as the octopus-throwing rule ($500 fine), it seems appropriate to set up Game 2 of the Red Wings-Phoenix Coyotes series (1 PM EDT, NBC/CBC) by suggesting that Detroit’s players have a difficult task on their hands in both besting the Phoenix Coyotes and the Wings’ tendency to “go splat” whenever they play before 7:30 PM local time.
Now if you followed Friday’s various press updates, you’ll know that you can buy the Production Line’s “Free the Octopi” t-shirt online, and after the Red Wings will lift an inflatable Al the Octopus to the rafters at Joe Louis Arena prior to the game, and the Wings will continue to sell Al the Octopus merchandise to you, but the threat of a $500 fine from the Detroit Police is very real, and, as the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness (and others) noted, the Red Wings have chosen to not stand in the way of what appears to be the NHL stamping out Detroit’s octopus-throwing tradition by encouraging the City of Detroit to go on a cash grab:
Red Wings forward Mike Modano finds himself watching today’s game between the Wings and Phoenix Coyotes from the locker room as Mike Babcock’s chosen to go with a healthy lineup (that or give Modano, who’s hit a bit of a conditioning wall after returning from a severe wrist injury, some time to regain his confidence), though some who’ve followed the story of the former Dallas Stars captain who can’t seem to keep his thoughts to himself from the start might argue that Babcock’s decision has more to do with Modano’s willingness to admit to everyone within earshot that he’s going to retire at the end of this season, regardless of how far the Wings’ playoff run goes.
In that vein, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel chose to speak with Modano earlier this week about his decision to sign with the Wings for what turned out to be an injury-shortened season, all while suggesting that the only somewhat open secret that Modano will return to Dallas and probably join the Stars in some capacity when the Wings’ playoff run is over is still something we’re only supposed to pretend isn’t going to happen.
Modano says he’s still happy with his decision to leave Dallas to play for his hometown team…
Updated 5x at 10:33 with more Game 2 stuff, TPL merchandise and a commercial about history being banned: As they’ve fallen off the front page, yes, I’ve still been updating the Red Wings-Coyotes off-day update post as well as the octopus issue thread (expect new updates to both topics to be posted here), and while the NHL and the Red Wings appear to be playing “catch the blame” with the City of Detroit, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness found that the Red Wings’ players and coach have no issues with octopus-throwing (though the team that sells Al the Octopus merchandise and lifts an inflatable Al to Joe Louis Arena’s rafters before every playoff game has fallen in line with the NHL regarding actually throwing octopi onto the ice at the Joe):
The Wings released the following statement: “The throwing of objects onto 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.”
“I don’t know anything about it,” [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,” Babcock added. “I just hope the guys that come on to scrape it off aren’t digging up the ice. I want it to be smooth.”
“I haven’t heard any opponents complaining about it,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “I like the tradition. It’s been going on for a lot of years. We feed off the crowd getting into it,” Lidstrom added. “Whether it’s an octopus coming onto the ice or goals being scored, it’s a big boost when our fans get into it.”
If you haven’t seen Chris Osgood’s rant against the NHL and Gary Bettman while speaking to WXYT’s Jeff Riger, here it is…
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.”
WXYT’s Jeff Riger got Chris Osgood to speak about the new rule
Updated 10x at 5:18 with Cheli, Abdelkader/Helm Grind Line stuff, and no, you cannot throw octopi in Detroit: Things continue to get curiouser and curiouser regarding the status of Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, as noted by the Tweets of the reporters attending today’s Wings and Coyotes’ practices. Zetterberg apparently skated on his own, as noted by the Sporting News’s Craig Custance...
No surprise. Babcock said Zetterberg out for Game 2. He skated again today on his own.
As confirmed by Todd Walsh, Brian Hedger (twice...erm hree times), WXYZ’s Tom Leyden, Fox 2’s Jennifer Hammond and the Windsor St.ar’s Bob Duff... But Babcock told Hammond and the press that Zetterberg will make the trip to Phoenix:
The Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes engaged in the kind of break which they hope they’ll only enjoy again due to television constraints—the start of a two-day pause between Game 1 and Saturday’s Game 2 is anything but normal in the NHL come mid-April. Usually, if you aren’t playing the night after your “off day,” it’s because you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs, so a two-day respite is nothing less than a little weird—arguably almost as bizarre as ticketing a Red Wings fan for throwing an Octopus at the Joe.
So both teams found themselves with almost a little too much time with which to engage in practicing (the Wings’ was an optional one) and then speaking to the media, and more than a few themes rolled in during the press’s mid-day and afternoon/evening updates, with the first and foremost involving a surprisingly frank addendum to MLive’s Ansar Khan’s report about Henrik Zetterberg’s status as having returned to the ice to skate…by himself…for fifteen minutes...
Red Wings-Coyotes off-day updates, part 2: Z’s out for a while, Yotes hope to rebound, Wings chatter
Updated with the Wings’ pre-game playoff in-rink entertainment: As the first crop of Red Wings-Coyotes off-day updates and multimedia fell of the front page...
Update: Whoah: MLive’s Ansar Khan snuck this into his Zetterberg report:
Publicly, the team continues to list him as day-to-day. Privately, the club has ruled him out for the first five games of the opening-round playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The earliest the team believes Zetterberg can return is Game 6 on April 24. Ideally, the Red Wings hope they can win the series without him and have him ready for the start of the next round.
Okay, after that: Red Wings prospect Hat Trick Dick Axelsson registered an assist as Farjestads BK defeated Skelleftea 4-1 to capture the Swedish Eliteserien championship. Axelsson already stated that he planned on breaking his contract with Farjestad in the 3 days subsequent to the SEL finals to either join the Red Wings or play in Russia or Switzerland, and he confirmed to Expressen and Aftonbladet that he’s played in his last game for Farjestad after posting 4 goals and 6 assists in 12 playoff games, but the Wings aren’t exactly going to do back flips to try and convince the mercurial forward to come over to the NHL as he remains incredibly inconsistent.
Update: the Free Press has picked up on the story: Via On the Wings’ Matt Saler (blog link), The Hockey Writers’ Monica McAlister (blog/article link) and, well, Deadspin‘s Brian Hickney is reporting—and reputably so, with visual proof—that if you throw an octopus at Joe Louis Arena, during a Red Wings game, you will be ejected, fined $500, face a court hearing, and possibly sent to jail if you do not pay $150 to the Detroit Police department, for, and I quote from the ticket…
“Throwing an object which would cause injury onto the playing field of an athletic contest.”
According to both the person who was charged, one Tommy B., and Ms. McAlister, the new ruling is that you will be fined $500 if caught in the act of throwing an octopus by Joe Louis Arena’s security guards. Whether this new fine is being enacted by the city to bump up ticket revenues or whether the NHL pressured the Wings into enforcing it, we don’t know yet. Given that it’s a police citation, I would strongly suggest that this is a City of Detroit issue.
Updated 12x with Datsyuk stuff and Coyotes talk at 4:04 PM: Per the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, the Red Wings held an optional skate today, but Duff reports good news on the Henrik Zetterberg front:
Babcock on Zetterberg: “He skated today.” Chance for Game 2? “There’s always a chance. I keep telling you he’s day-to-day.” #detphx
The Red Wings’ Twitter account confirms…
Babcock: It is one game and there is obviously another game here in a couple of days.
Zetterberg skated today, when asked his status for Saturday, Mike Babcock said he was ‘day to day’.
Wouldn’t read anything into the Zetterberg status. Babs has said he would be ‘day to day’ after missing the two CHI games last week.
The Sporting News’s Craig Custance confirms…
The AHL chose to chop 4 games off its 80-ame regular season schedule and eliminate four-game-in-five-night slates during Wednesday’s Board of Governors meetings, and TSN’s Darren Dreger says that the NHL will at least examine several of the AHL’s proposals to see whether they could be tweaked to help the NHL while keeping the NHL’s 82-game schedule intact:
Some NHL teams have pushed for a similar schedule reduction since the lockout, going as far as to propose the NHL drop from 82 to 72 games (although those who still favour a change say they would be happy to trim the schedule from 82 to 76).
The NHL acknowledges there have been discussions on this topic, but sees nothing imminent when it comes to a change.
Because of an obvious loss in revenue, NHL owners are unlikely to support playing fewer games. But with player safety a key issue in today’s game and the millions of dollars lost annually across the league to injuries, the team executives who contend less is more will be closely monitoring the impact the AHL’s schedule reduction may have on its players. As one star NHL player told The Dreger Report, “Money wise we need an 82 game schedule, but body wise, 60 would be better.”
Continued, and given the ridiculous number of injuries occurring on an every-season basis these days, I think the AHL’s suggestion to extend its regular season by a week and reduce back-to-back grinds are both ideas worth examining.
About The Malik Report
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.