Detroit Red Wings: Icekeeper Al Sobotka Can't Swing the Octopus Any More

Tony HagenContributor IApril 19, 2008

What kind of crazy BS move is this?

So stuff flies on the ice. Does it get the crowd into the game?

I must say that when I first heard Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond talking about this during last-nights Red Wings-Predators game it kind of grabbed my attention and slipped out the other ear.

I guess it did not really register until I read the article in this morning's Detroit Free Press. I really think fining a club $10,000 for exciting the crowd or I guess getting octopus MATTER on the ice is necessary. NOT!

We just got the ruling on the Avery Rule handed last week for his turning and facing New Jersey Devil's goaltender Martin Brodeur and waving his hands and stick in front of his face. Now we get this rule.

If it is about the MATTER on the ice then so be it. If it's because the crowds gets riled when Red Wings ice guru Al Sobotka gathers the icon octopus up, raises it over his head and swings it like a cowboy twirling a rope.

If this is the case then I call for no more mascots at center ice or roaming the crowds trying to get the crowd into the game. I mean how silly is this octopus swinging rule?

As far as Brian Burke is concerned and his whining last year about Al and the octo-swing all I can say is, get over it!

You need to worry about your team and not getting ousted in the first round and how your goons are going to hold up for the long haul.

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

I must say this: "Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch please cover the fine" and keep on swinging, Al. We, the fans, love it.

The octopus has been a symbol at Detroit Red Wings hockey games since 1952 and the tradition is part of playoff hockey and is observed all over North America.

Sobotka has been with the Red Wings since 1971. Sobotka said in a May 20, 2007 interview with the New York Times “I’m just proud to be a part of this great hockey tradition,” and “After all these years, I still enjoy getting up every morning and going to work.”

During a playoff game in 1991, Al decided when he gathered up the slimy octopus from the ice surface he was going to do something a little different, Sobotka said “I just gave that octopus a little twirl over my head,” and “The place went nuts.”

Now according the the NHL another tradition has come to an end. Way to go, lets keep the NHL and the games safe from flying octopus debris.

Heaven forbid anyone spits, throws, swings, tosses or even drops anything on the ice and the ice keeper does anything with it to excite the crowd.

Bad call to those who decided to ruin the game of hockey and it's local traditions. Get real!