Red Wings Win the Stanley Cup

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- The Stanley Cup is back in Detroit's hands, and Red Wings fans jumped and screamed as their team finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road to take the NHL championship for the fourth time in 11 seasons.
"The Cup has come back to Detroit! We're Hockeytown," shouted Greg Litvinskas, 25, of Saginaw, one of a packed crowd at Mr. B's Pub in the suburb of Royal Oak. "This is what the city needs."
As the clock ticked down to zero with Detroit leading 3-2, the crowd in Mr. B's erupted in earsplitting cheers.
In downtown Detroit, Joe Louis Arena again transformed into the Motor City's largest living room where the Red Wings extended family cheered, screamed, stomped, shouted and high-fived one another as time ran out.
When the final horn sounded, glitter was poured from the catwalk onto several thousand celebrating fans.
Shawn Coppins, 36, of Mount Clemens had a head full of the sparkling stuff.
"After Monday night's letdown, I'm glad to be here at the Joe for this one," said Coppins, one of thousands who went to Joe Louis to watch the game via video link from Pittsburgh. "Who wouldn't enjoy coming here?"
Coppins said he's looking forward to a parade downtown and even thinks embattled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick would get a standing ovation in the euphoria of moment.
Minutes after the game, Kilpatrick issued a statement saying the city would hold a victory parade at 11 a.m. Friday.
"Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings on this great victory. The Wings are a world class team representing a world class city," he said.
As "Oh what a night" blared on the Joe Louis Arena speakers, Emalie Barko, 24, of Toledo, Ohio, skipped through Joe Louis celebrating Detroit's win.
"Detroit won! I love them, they're so awesome." Even when Pittsburgh scored its second goal, she said she wasn't worried.
Barko said her plans for the rest of the night were to continue partying at bars downtown.
Cars were blaring their horns up and down Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit and fans were still cheering loudly as they continued to spill outside the arena.
"It's exciting, and it couldn't be two better teams. The only difference is their star players don't have as much Stanley Cup experience as our players," said Pat Connors, who paid $200 for a ticket to Game 1.
She said despite the hour drive from her home in New Hudson to Joe Louis, watching the game at the team's home arena is "100 times more exciting. You get to party with all the fans."
In the suburb of Royal Oak, police prepared for celebrations by calling in officers from about a dozen local jurisdictions, Deputy Police Chief Chris Janhke said Wednesday afternoon.
Andrew Sawmiller, 25, of Royal Oak was wearing a Steve Yzerman jersey and said he had "watched every single game since I was three years old."
He said he was in the Joe Louis Arena in 2002, when the Red Wings last won the Stanley Cup.
"If they weren't going to win it at home in Game 5, that's fine. The next best thing is going there and winning it there in their place."
Martin Blumenpritt, 31, of Beverly Hills hedged his bets, saying "it's going to be a Red Wings' win. We just need another goal."
Moments later, he got his wish, Detroit went up 3-1 in the third period. The bar erupted in cheers and high-fives as spinning lights and blow horns marked the goal.
On Monday night, when the Red Wings lost 4-3 at home in triple overtime, yellow tape and police officers lined Main Street sidewalks to keep fans out of the roadway in case of a Red Wings win. Janhke called that deployment "a good practice run" for Wednesday night.
Janhke said police will only disperse crowds if things get "out of control."
"We don't want to interfere with celebration," he said. "It is only when you have a few individuals out there who take it too far, is when we take action" to remove troublemakers.
In 2002, the last time the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, large crowds amassed in Royal Oak on the night of the victory, forcing police to close some streets before fans began dispersing early the next day. Several arrests were made for offenses such as malicious mischief, public intoxication and assault and battery.
Detroit police policy withholds staffing details of special events, but the department does have a contingency plan in place and necessary resources available in the event of a Red Wings victory, spokesman James Tate said.


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