June 04, 2008
Can't believe this one slipped off our radar: Marc-Andre Fleury has owned up to spraying his water bottle at Al Sobotka, the Detroit Red Wings' beloved octopus-twirling Zamboni driver at Joe Louis Arena.
Please recall that the NHL declared war on the tradition of twirling octopi that are thrown on the ice at Wings games, due to the "gunk" that allegedly flies off of them. Sobotka now whips up the crowd into a frenzy by twirling the cephalopod just inside the Zamboni entrance.
Before Game 5, Fleury sent a squirt of water over at Sobotka during the twirl. When asked about it, he jokingly told the media it was an accident: "It just missed my mouth by a little bit." But then he came clean: "I don't know, it was just at the game he does it to us, so after the first two games, I thought I'll give him a little something back."
With a 55-save effort and a win at the Joe, sounds like Fleury may have created a new tradition for opposing goalies in Detroit: Soak the guy with the octopus for luck. Until Bettman ruins the fun, of course.
The quality of this video is pretty bad, but it's the only thing we could find on this one; does anyone else see Fleury reach around his net with a water bottle at about the 20-second mark on the video screen? If someone has to have a better video of this; e-mail us kindly.