June 16, 2009
The Pittsburgh Penguins victory celebration in the Steel City yesterday drew an estimated 375,000 fans, some of whom called it an unofficial holiday in the 'Burgh. To get a sense of what that looked like, check out this aerial view; that's not even counting the fans that piled into parking garages along the route and watched the parade.
As Mondesi's House pointed out (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis(notes) was sporting some extremely fresh ink in celebration of the 2009 Stanley Cup championship. Unlike Dupuis in the majority of the playoffs, a new tattoo shouldn't be scratched.
If you're looking for some great photo coverage of the event, look no further than Kiss 96.1 FM's gallery from the parade, The Pensblog's on-site coverage from yesterday and the boys' killer good Flickr mothership of different photos.
Here are a few snaps, clips and stories from the day ...
From Puck Buddy Joe T. comes this image of the parking garage fans. Ironically, after the parade, none of them could remember on which level they actually left their car.
Puck Buddy Jason T. sent along this banner that hangs from the under-construction new Penguins arena. The original design had the same font but featured Hossa's head on a spike; glad they toned it down. Speaking of Hossa ...
Subtle. From the Kiss FM gallery.
One of the best things about these parades is the sense of community between players and fans. In the arena, you're separated by distance, boards and glass; in a parade, it feels like everyone's celebrating the same victory within the same space. And that's pretty damn cool.
Fleury seems like a happy fellow. Speaking of happy fellows ...
Max Talbot(notes) recreates his infamous "shhhhh" from the Philadelphia Flyers series. Again, it's still rather stunning that King Goofball scored two goals in a Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup. It would be like seeing Simon Pegg winning an Oscar --you're happy for him, you don't doubt he's got it in him, but that guy?
Just in case anyone had any questions about write-offs or tax code, the Penguins had their accountant on hand.
This sign read:
A. "Evgeni ... let us make sweet Pierogi together."
B. "Evgeni ... thank goodness the voters didn't care how terrible you were in the last three games."
C. "Evgeni ... is it true you're being traded to the Kings?"
Meanwhile, the Penguins fans performed a Queen song. We'll not go as far as to say they attempted to sing it:
From Puck Daddy Michael T., some on-site reporting
In the midst of the 350,000+ throng of people, a few fans fell prey to the heat and crowded conditions.
One girl, after nearly fainting against a building, had medical personnel rush through a compact crowd to assist her. After assuring them she was 'okay' and did not wish to be moved out of the crowd, the one paramedic helpfully told her that should her condition worsen, to 'just wave her hands.'
There were three defining crowd reactions from the parade's festivities.
The first ovation came when soon-to-be-knighted Mario Lemieux arrived at the stage. The man certainly holds himself like Royalty.
The second roar from the masses came when Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury appeared with the Stanley Cup above their heads.
The third, and most notable, crowd response came when young Jordan Staal(notes) jumped off of his parade vehicle and began slapping hands with fans along the parade route. At that exact moment, roughly 50,000 teenage girls let out a collective loud and audible "Awwwwwwwwwww!!"
Finally, and most impressively, to pass time, fans near the stage engaged in the time honored tradition of throwing around "Hossa Sucks!" beach balls and, later, a mini-football.
Soon, a clear mission emerged: someone had appeared in the fourth story window of the church situated directly across from the Parade Stage, and for reasons I will never understand, it became the goal of everyone in attendance to see someone successfully throw the football through that window.
That someone accomplished this feat is not all that remarkable. That this person threw the ball across six lanes of road (plus a cement walkway in the middle) from the OPPOSITE side of the street's sidewalk STRAIGHT INTO A WINDOW FOUR STORIES OFF THE GROUND *is* remarkable. The person in question threw a laser-accurate pass 50 yards through the air earned himself chants of "MVP!" and, ironically, "Kordell!" for his resemblance to the former maligned Steelers quarterback.
This is naturally a huge moment for our friends at The Pensblog ... but does it get any bigger than this?
Pretty sure we just heard The Chief's head explode over at Abel To Yzerman.
Finally, a parting shot at Marian Hossa, blue-collar Pittsburgh style:
That's from Tricky M on Flickr, via The Pensblog. In case you were wondering, underneath the shirt is the actual baggage Penguins fans were carrying since Hossa said the Wings had a better shot at the Cup.