Free Press cartoonist Mike Thompson tests Bettman's octopus edict
Gary Bettman recently announced that he would fine Red Wings Zamboni driver Al Sobotka $10,000 if Sobotka twirls over his
head the octopi that fans toss onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena. The reason given for the potential fine is that "matter
flies off the octopus and gets on the ice when he does it.
cartoonist Mike Thompson decided to take this "matter" matter into his own hands this week on his blog (freep.com/mikethompson).
Thompson bought a frozen octopus at Superior Fish Market in Royal Oak, boiled it for half an hour,
hung a white shower curtain on the door of his garage, and then twirled the octopus over his head to see if any matter would
get on the shower curtain. (He also ate the octopus afterward. No live octopi were harmed in the test.)
reports: "No matter how hard or fast I twirled the octopus, I couldn't get any matter to fly off the darn thing. ...
the perfectly clean post-test shower curtain proves, the only matter the NHL needs to be concerned about is the gray matter
between Bettman's ears."
Thompson plans to perform a second test using a twirled, raw octopus. Check out
the results on his blog prior to today's face-off.
Octopus Twirling Test Part Two: The "Raw" Data
oh, why couldn’t Pete Cusimano have gone into the meat business?
That was the question I asked myself earlier today
as I headed off to the Superior Fish Market in Royal Oak to buy another octopus
for part two of the great octopus-twirling test.
Had fish shop co-owner Cusimano, the man credited with starting
the octopus tossing tradition back in 1952, sold products that moo instead of products that squirt black ink, I might be enjoying
a nice sirloin steak for dinner tonight. Instead, I’ll be dining on octopus…again.
Because one reader posted after my initial octopus twirling test - in which I used a boiled octopus - and issued the following
challenge: “I am concerned that some well-intended fans may not be boiling their octopi before throwing them on the
ice. Can you give us some "raw" data?”
Well, never one to shirk from a challenge of the cephalopod
variety, I decided to repeat my octo-twirling test, this time using a raw octopus instead of a boiled one.
those of you who are just joining us, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that Red Wings Zamboni guy Al Sobotka will be
fined $10,000 if he twirls over his head the octopi that fans toss onto the ice during hockey games at the Joe Louis Arena.
The reason, according to NHL spokesman Frank Brown as reported in the Free Press, “matter flies off the octopus and
gets on the ice when he does it.”
My boiled octopus-twirling test completely refuted this claim. So how would
a raw octopus fare when twirled before a pristine shower curtain?
After several minutes…success! As
you can see from this photo, if Red Wings Zamboni guy Al Sobotka were to stand on the ice twirling the octopus furiously for
several minutes, he would indeed validate the league’s concern. But then again, if you twirl most things furiously for
several minutes, chunks are bound to fly off – I know I’d certainly be emitting chunks, if you get my meaning.
And remember, Sobotka’s twirling episodes rarely last more than a few seconds.
say these tests should prompt the league to put to rest the “matter” matter and allow the great twirling tradition
to continue. I mean, really, what were they thinking? In my book, this is a case of matter over mind.
been thinking. After a hat trick, fans traditionally toss their hats onto the ice. If you saw some of the Colorado fans at game one, you’d know that those hats might not always come from the cleanest of heads. So the question
is: When rink employees pick up said hats, does any matter fall off them onto the ice, creating a potential hazard for players?
Wait, let’s not give NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman any ideas