In mascot beating skit, did the Minnesota Wild cross a line?

Nordy, the mascot of the Minnesota Wild. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nordy, the Minnesota Wild mascot that’s apparently some sort of bipedal bear or cat, celebrated its birthday last night by having some friends over.

It looked tame enough: a few other NHL mascots joined him on the ice between periods at Xcel Energy Center.

Then Nordy took a baseball bat and started to beat the living crap out of Tommy Hawk, the Chicago Blackhawks mascot.

“Keep swinging! Keep swinging! Keep swinging!” the PA announcer implored as the crowd jeered.

The whole thing was probably intended to be all in fun, and there were plenty of reactions online that understood the Wild’s likely goal of acting out the team’s rivalry with Chicago.

But a simulated beating isn’t exactly in good taste, even in a professional hockey league where grown men fight during a game.

Here’s a sampling of the less-than-happy views from Twitter:

Chicago Tribune columnist Chris Kuc didn’t like it either:

For a league trying to eradicate unnecessary violence on the ice and promote a family atmosphere, the image of a mascot raising a bat over his head and delivering repeated blows to a helpless individual — whether wearing a bird costume or not — can’t be ideal.

The Wild plan to issue a statement, Kuc reported.