Friday, April 21

The Legend of the Octopus

Years ago, before Texans stole teams from Minnesota and Californians thought they deserved three teams, even before the Red Wings played in the Norris Division of the Campbell Conference, there were the original six: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, Toronto. Back then only four of the six teams made it to the playoffs. A team had to win two best-of-seven series to claim Lord Stanley's Cup.

I must admit the exact year escapes me, but it was in the late '50s or mid '60s, when teams still needed 8 wins for the cup, that a Wings fan first threw an octopus on the ice. The 8 legs of the octopus symbolized the 8 victories needed to win the Cup.

Only in recent years has the legend morphed into a giant purple octopus ("Stanley") that descends from the rafters in playoff pre-game shows. The flying octopi were so disruptive in the early '90s that the Joe had to crack down on letting them in. (Imagine where those true-blooded fans have to hide their smuggled octopi to make it through the Joe's security now... And no, we're not talkin calamari, these are raw octopi) Just one of the many traditions you could only find in Hockeytown...

The Wings face Edmonton in their first playoff match tonight. Don't think they don't remember previous years going into the playoffs as the #1 team... but as Scotty says, they're on a mission this year. It also gave me great comfort to hear people like Barry Melrose on ESPN picking Dallas to win the Cup this year. Bring it on! This is the Captain's year.

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