Blog: Denise Ilitch

The recent arrest of an individual for pelting the ice with an octopus during the Red Wings playoffs clashes with Detroit's joie de vivre but doesn't mean time-out. It's Stanley Cup week, and entrepreneur-attorney-philanthropist Denise Ilitch delivers the sports talk.

Post 1: NHL Stands For "No Humor Left"

Playoff  hockey!!  We are on to San Jose to play the Sharks in the second round.  It is our 20th consecutive appearance in the playoffs…a long way from the Dead Wings.  Who remembers?  I certainly do.  It seems like yesterday, although I much prefer the new and improved team.

I am struck by the changes in hockey over the years (Shootouts, to name one) but some of the rules have impacted the beauty of tradition.

Where oh where has the octopus gone?  The tradition of the octopus is a sports tradition during home playoff games since 1952!  The NHL used to play a two best of seven series to capture the Stanley Cup.  The octopus having eight arms symbolized the number of playoff wins necessary to win the Stanley Cup.  It has been widely reported that it was the Cusimano brothers who first hurled an octopus at Olympia Stadium.

Fast forward: fans have been honoring the tradition ever since and our 'mascot' has evolved into Al, the purple octopus.

Hockey fans all over the country have picked up the octopus tradition in some way or form.  For example, in 1995 a Boston fan threw a lobster on the ice.  In 1996, fans threw toy rats on the ice and in 2002, Nashville Predator fans threw catfish!  In 2007, a Sharks fan even threw a 4-foot leopard shark on the ice.  A Coyotes fan threw a rubber snake, and of course my personal favorite is in the second game of the 2009-10 series between the Wings and the Sharks, when a small shark was tossed to the ice with an octopus inside its mouth.

While I understand it could get carried away, it's a sad day to me that a person gets thrown in jail for honoring a long Detroit tradition.

I say the NHL should stand for No Humor Left.

I was in Phoenix for the Wings sweep of the Coyotes and no broom was in sight.  What's next?  No more hats for a hat trick?

I get being practical, but geez, where has all the fun gone?

Image courtesy of Denise Ilitch