The offseason is officially back. Now that the expansion draft is finally done, and all of the awards have been handed out, it’s all over. Get ready for four months without hockey.
While the other 29 teams in the league are left looking forward to next season — most of them have been for a few months already — the Pens and their fans have plenty of time to celebrate. If we learned anything from the parade last week, the party this summer is going to be a good one.
And although it may take the entire offseason — maybe longer — for the majority of Penguins fans to get over Marc-Andre Fleury leaving the party early, having the Stanley Cup around the city again should help. Not only is the Stanley Cup the most popular and best looking trophy of all the major sports, the Cup is also the best partyer. And after losing Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, it’s the perfect companion to help get over being, uh, de-Flower’d.
As is the tradition, players, coaches and staff from the winning team each get to spend one day with the Cup — and they can do whatever they want with it. This is the best part of the offseason; not trades or free agent signings or the draft (which is tonight, btw). Nothing beats trying to guess which player’s swimming pool the Cup will be floating in or who will take it to the zoo to pose with lions and bears (probably Malkin for both).
Over time, the stories have gotten more outrageous. The winner of the Kentucky Derby ate out of it in 1994. A Colorado Avalanche defenseman had his daughter baptized in it in 1996. Last season, before Phil Kessel visited a Children’s Hospital in Toronto with the Cup, his grandmother chugged champagne out of it.
Anything in the world: funny, meaningful, low-key — literally anything you want to do with the Cup.
Players spend their entire careers chasing the Stanley Cup and most never even come close. So if your team wins it and you’re about to get an entire day with the Cup, you have to make it count. The day with the Cup is something players say they always remember, and there’s no telling when the opportunity will come again.
But what about the fans? The closest we come to hoisting the Cup is when it’s on display for photos in the lobby off PPG Paints Arena. So what would a diehard Penguins fan do if they had a day to themselves with the most popular trophy in sports?
We took it to social media to find out. Here are some of the best responses:
It’s been a long time since the Cup has made an extended visit to the city of Philadelphia, so this is a very thoughtful choice. Although… it’s been so long for them, many Philadelphians may not recognize the Cup and might need to be reminded of its significance. If Sidney Crosby ever went full heel turn on the NHL, taking the Stanley Cup through the streets of Philadelphia would be the best possible way to kick it off. Just a thought.
What pick-up hockey game could ever top one where the Stanley Cup is literally on the line? It would probably be the most intense pick-up game between friends in history. This is one I would definitely want to do.
Have to think it would be a great collection day for the church.
That would be A LOT of ice cream and a lot of root beer. In 2014, Sporting News wrote that the Cup can fit 2.15 gallons of liquid, which comes out to about 23 cans of beer. Root beer, in this case. Can’t say this is a bad option.
A lot of responses pertained to partying or pool partying with the Cup but this one stuck out. For anyone who has ever gone boating on the three rivers, imagine a boat pulling up next to you with the Stanley Cup on it — what a visual.
Maybe the only thing that could be better than getting all of your friends together to play for the Cup would be watching a bunch of youth players go after it instead. The youth games during intermission are already a blast, imagine if the Pens put the Cup on the line for them next season. Entertainment gold.
So we’ve established that some combination of a pool and/or pool party absolutely has to be on the list of things to do with the Cup, along with a pick-up game with your friends or a youth team. My list would definitely include those two, plus eating out of it — because how can you have the Cup in your possession and not eat of it?
Okay, after you sanitize it, you can eat out of it.
To really go full-Pittsburgh, I think at some point you’d have to eat Primantis from the Cup. No bread, just the meat, coleslaw and french fries. After that, wash it all down with an IC Light — straight out of the Cup. That one is a must.
Next, I’m taking the Cup to Mount Washington for photo opps, then down to the Point for more photos and to swim with it in the fountain. If you haven’t caught onto my theme, it’s basically having the most Pittsburgh day ever with it.
From there, I hit every ride at Kennywood with the Cup riding shotgun, and finally conclude the day with a movie at the Loews Theater — just me and the Cup. Very romantic. One can dream.
It’s a long offseason and it’s just getting started, but at least we have some great stories to look forward to before the Pens do it all over again this fall. Until then, let the pool parties and cookouts commence.
Here’s to another summer with the Stanley Cup — and hopefully Phil Kessel’s grandma.