Drinking from the 21-foot-high Stanley Cup in Times Square

NEW YORK, N.Y. — On Wednesday morning, in the heart of Times Square in New York City, the NHL and NBC celebrated the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs (and their new TV deal that sees every game on the NBC family of networks) by dropping a 21-foot tall, 6,600 lbs. replica of the greatest trophy in sports in the middle of everything.

It's so big that I could see the bowl part from five blocks away through the sea of tourists, people dressed as movie characters such as Woody from "Toy Story" and one nice fellow who was carrying a sign offering "Free Hugs". (I did not ask for one as I was in a hurry, sadly.)

In attendance to open the festivities were NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, the actual Stanley Cup, and former NHLers Clark Gillies, Adam Graves and Grant Marshall, who hold eight rings between them.

Once the speeches and photo ops ended and the crew broke down the stage platform as well as fixed some "technical difficulties" with the fountain, it was opened to the public.

Open Wednesday through Friday, the huMANgous Cup also doubles as a drinking fountain through a partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. New York City.

And lo and behold, New York City drinking water isn't as bad as it used to be. It was actually kind of delicious and a bit refreshing, much like a Junior Mint.

The Cup will be under watch just in case a sneaky fan was thinking of dropping dye capsules in the color of their favorite team in the pool at the base of the Cup. Or if some fan or, uh, anyone in Times Square had one too many "waters" and needed to find a place for relief.

What does the NHL and NBC do with a 21-foot tall, 6,600-pound Stanley Cup after Friday? Maybe it'll greet you at future NHL All-Star Games and Drafts.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy