Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bettman cooks Detroit's octupus

Commissioner Gary Bettman is determined to take all the fun out of the NHL. On the heals the Sean Avery Rule (no more waving your stick in front of the goalie's face), Zamboni drivers are no longer allowed to remove debris thrown on the ice or they'll be dinged for a $10K fine...or at least they're not allowed to twirl it. Depends on your interpretation.

While the new rule doesn't name the Detroit Red Wings specifically, the league isn't veiling the fact that this is in relation to Wings fans throwing octupi at the Joe Louis Arena. I guess it just took them 56 years to figure out it may be a problem.
NHL spokesman Frank Brown gave this explanation: "Because matter flies off the octopus and gets on the ice when he does it."

- Detroit Free Press

Hmm, that's a complete 180 from the league's recent stance on the sin.
As recently as last year's playoffs, the NHL tacitly endorsed [Zamboni driver Al] Sobotka's antics.

"Every so often, an octopus slips out of someone's hands, and Al is right there to take care of the matter," Brown told the New York Times last May. "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 Detroit News

This is all a little bit deja vu for my fellow Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) fans. If you're not familiar, that loud hippie in section 101 is Zamboni John. Before he took on the role of unofficial team cheerleader, he was the Zamboni driver at the old Mercer Arena. The city (who ran the arena) didn't take kindly to his high-fiving the audience while cutting the ice and his waving the large fish that T-Birds fans threw at every game versus longtime rival Portland Winter Hawks. "Zamboni John" Scannell is now a labor and employment attorney. Maybe Zamboni John can represent Sobotka should he defy Bettman's ruling.

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