Please recall the 2008 Stanley Cup finals, in which Wholey's Fish Market in Pittsburgh banned anyone tangentially associated with the Detroit Red Wings from purchasing an octopus, for fear that it would be tossed onto the Mellon Arena ice.
That meant hanging signs that literally read: "If you're from Detroit, you're NOT ALLOWED to buy the octopus." That also meant checking ID and listening for Midwestern accents in the store to weed out the offending parties.
But Benkovitz Seafood in the Strip? Winged Wheel sympathizers. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last season:
A staffer at the Strip's Benkovitz Seafood is giving Red Wings supporters more leeway. "I would have no problem selling them an octopus," Benkovitz employee Cindy Norman said. "I don't watch hockey."
As if you needed a reminder of how high the stakes have been raised for the Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins in their finals' rematch, Mondesi's House reports that Benkovitz has seen the error of its ways, adopting the security measures from Wholey's. From WPXI:
A sign outside the door to the store tells Detroit fans that they are not welcome. "They might bring a stinky squid in their car from Detroit, but not from my store here," said Horatio Ruiz of Benkovitz Seafoods. "This is for us, and for the Pittsburgh fans only."
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Mondesi's House, which should be high on your must-read list with the Penguins back in the finals, summed up this change in loyalty from the almighty dollar to the flightless fowl:
Clearly, a point has been made by residents of Pittsburgh: either you're with us or you're against us. Wholey's gets it. Jerome Bettis gets it. Others might take a little time, but eventually, everyone comes around. Once you get to know us, we're really a lovable group, in an angry-mob kinda way.
Indeed. Glad to see octopus tossing back in the news for the finals. Although here's hoping not every chapter in last postseason's cephalopodic adventures makes a comeback. We really don't want to have to revisit the 1982 Michigan Bodies of Dead Animals Act.