The Legend Behind the Octopus Throwing Madness

Al Sobotka

As a Chicago Blackhawks’ fan I have grown up with the “Detroit Sucks” chant ingrained in my brain. When it comes time for the Stanley Cup playoffs, it doesn’t get much more intense than a Western Conference showdown between the Blackhawks and their rivaled Detroit Red Wings. While I’ve been watching the second round series this year, I couldn’t help getting a little grossed out as the ice crews clean up nasty squids from off the ice.

I was curious as to why Red Wings fans think it’s okay to throw sea creatures onto the ice during a hockey game. My curiosity led to some research and thankfully for the people of Michigan they have a decent story supporting their Octopus tossing.

ice girl squid“The Legend of the Octopus” is a tradition during Red Wings playoff games where fans chuck octopuses onto the ice. The activity dates back to the 1952 playoffs, when the National Hockey League had two best-of-seven series to win the Stanley Cup. The octopus, having eight arms, symbolized the number of playoff wins necessary to capture Lord Stanley’s cup. The magical practice started April 15, 1952 when Pete and Jerry Cusimano, Detroit brothers and storeowners, hurled an octopus onto the rink of The Old Red Barn. The ’52 Red Wings swept the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the Montreal Canadiens en route to winning the cup and BOOM throwing around live octopuses became acceptable in the Motor City. Apparently in 1995 a fan threw a 38 pound monster onto the ice (gross). To add to the octopus love, the Red Wings’ unofficial mascot is a purple Octopus named Al.

While the tradition is unique, I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying around a live eight-legged sea creature. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for security checking bags at the games.  Are they limited as to how MANY octopuses they allow through the gates?

Hopefully the Hawks can clinch the series in Game 7 tomorrow and hockey fans won’t have to see any more squids on the ice this year.

Toews Not Playing in Season Finale

After much consideration, Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews will not be playing in the season finale against the Detroit Red Wings. He said he just doesn’t feel right on the ice, and he’s hoping to be back active for game one of this year’s playoffs. I think he needs a puppy or something to cheer him up.

The Red Wings are never an easy game for Chicago as they are a long time rival, but today they will take the ice with authority after their loss Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils left a sour taste in their mouths. Hopefully Kaner will be swift with his stick today and let that bad taste resonate in their mouths a little longer.

Blackhawks’ Andrew Burnette knows the Hawks won’t take this game lightly, “You play [to win] and see what happens,” Brunette said. “That’s life in the Western Conference. Every team that’s in is scary.”

After tonight’s game the Blackhawks’ playoff positioning will finally be  secured and they will know their first post season opponent. Honestly, it doesn’t matter WHO they are playing it’s always about HOW they are playing. Because when the Hawks are on, they can beat anybody.

Fear the Beard

Beards, they’re everywhere.

The general definition of a beard is simply: the collection of hair that grows on the chin, cheeks and neck of human beings. Usually, only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards (thank you Wiki).

A woman’s definition of a beard is: Male facial hair that often makes a woman’s face itch and or breakout in a rash-like reaction. Often categorized with Santa Claus and the Amish culture.

A man’s definition of a beard is: Facial hair which symbolizes a man’s entire masculinity, signifying intimidation, it is the epitome of being a real man. The thicker and longer the beard, the more superior a man is.

I did a bit of investigating and came up with my top beards in the athletic world, these are obviously the manliest men in their designated sport.

NFL = Brett Keisel

If the stature of your beard determines masculinity, Brett Keisel is the maniliest man in all the NFL. Last year during the Steelers playoff run Keisel let his beard grow, and it gained quite the notoriety on the internet. I mean look at it, he could easily be cast as the beast in Beauty and the Beast. “I think it is bar none the best beard in sports. I’m not trying to brag, that’s just my opinion,” Keisel boasted to WTAE in Pittsburgh last year.

NBA = James Harden

Oklahoma City Thunder’s sixth man James Harden is a spark off the bench, and leaves a lasting impression no doubt. Sharing a roster with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, one would think the bench could easily be overshadowed. There is no way Harden’s beard could ever go unnoticed. That is one well manicured impressive display of facial hair.

NHL = Mike Commodore

Although, this photo is old school from his days with the Hurricanes, this outrageous fro-beard combination may be back in action if the Red Wings make the playoffs this season (not that I want them to). Mike Commodore could easily be the grizzlier cousin of Carrot Top with that mangy mane and beard combo.

MLB = Brian Wilson

YOWZA!  Closer Brian Wilson began growing his trademark black beard in August of 2010 when “Fear the Beard” carried the Giants all the way to a World Series Championship. That thing is like a neck warmer. Wilson is intimidating on the mound regardless, but having to look at that thick blackness can’t give batters the warm and fuzzies.

MLS = David Beckham

I mean I’m not sure midfielder David Beckham has the best beard in the entire sport, but he’s just so pretty, you can’t dislike him even with a fuzzy face. I wonder how Miss Victoria B (forever Posh Spice) felt about the beard?

Who are your top beards? Give it a try, it’s surprisingly tough to narrow it down.