Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Article excerpt

It's time for the National Hockey League playoffs, and that means that dozens of octopuses are ready to serve their team in Detroit.

For more than 40 years, Red Wings fans have had the peculiar tradition of lobbing dead octopuses onto the ice whenever their beloved team reaches the playoffs.

A record 54 octopuses hit the ice at Joe Louis Arena in a single game as the Red Wings lost in last year's NHL finals. KEITH BRADSHER of The New York Times has some valuable tips for first-time throwers: The secret to throwing a large octopus is to boil it first for 20 minutes on high heat with a little lemon juice and white wine to mask the odor. A well-boiled octopus can be hurled close to 100 feet, its rubbery purple tentacles waving, and will bounce and roll satisfactorily across the ice when it lands. A raw dead octopus is a smelly ball that will stick to the ice on impact and often leave an inky stain. In the years since the practice started, a complex octopus etiquette has grown. Octopus hurlers try to buy tickets for aisle seats, so that they can stand up quickly after the Red Wings score and take a good windup without hitting the person behind them. The experienced thrower grabs the octopus around the middle of the tentacles, with the head down near the back of the thrower's knee, and swings with an overarm motion, as though lobbing a grenade. "That's the only way you're going to get any leverage," said PETER CUSIMANO, credited with lobbing the first octopus onto the ice in the '52 playoffs. "You try to throw it like a baseball and you're going to throw your shoulder out." Inexperienced octopus throwers sometimes make the mistake of holding the tentacle tips, only to have the octopus' head break off during the windup. ***** Today's MARGE SCHOTT Update: The Cincinnati Reds' owner tried to apologize Sunday for comments she made after the death of umpire JOHN McSHERRY forced postponement of the Reds' opener. …

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