Sea of Red
Thousands play hooky to celebrate Red Wings second title
Posted: Thursday June 18, 1998 01:36 PM
The Red Wings' victory parade started at the Fox Theatre
and drew over a million fans (AP)|
DETROIT (CNN/SI) -- Detroit was seeing red Thursday.
Thousands of Detroit Red Wing fans lined the downtown streets to celebrate the team's second Stanley Cup championship in a row. The Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals to earn the title Tuesday.
A sea of
thousands of cheering, flag-waving fans in red and white lined both sides
of Woodward Avenue as the parade traveled from the Fox Theater just over a
mile to Hart Plaza on the Detroit River, where players would speak at a
Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov, the defenseman and team masseur
who were severely injured in a limousine accident just six days after last
year's Cup victory, drew thunderous applause and chants as they waved and
gave the thumb's up sign while passing by on a float.
Scotty Bowman, Gov. John Engler and Mayor Dennis Archer beamed and waved at
the crowd, and team captain Steve Yzerman
raised Conn Smythe trophy, which he earned as the most valuable player of
Goaltender Chris Osgood,
wearing a red T-shirt and riding in the back of a red Jeep, carried the Cup
and repeatedly raised it over his head for the crowd to see.
Stanley, a giant papier-mache octopus, rode on a flat-bed truck. His eight
tentacles represent the number of victories it used to take to win a Cup
during the days of the Original Six NHL teams.
Diane Dabish of
Fraser took the day off from work after camping out along the parade route
at 7 p.m. Wednesday - 161/2 hours before the parade's 11:30 a.m. start.
"Last year, I missed it, but this year I wasn't going to miss it,"
She said her boss thought she was crazy for going
out so early.
"I said, 'Yes, I'm going to spend the night out
here. I want to be the first person out here.''
McLauchlan of Oakland County's Oakland Township arrived at 6 a.m., wearing
a 4-foot-high makeshift Stanley Cup on his head and a Red Wings flag as a
He shaved his beard to read Red Wing -- he ran out of
space to get the 's' on.
"It's more than a team. It's part of
Detroit and everybody's one big happy family," he said.
said Wednesday that today's throng could surpass 1 million, the estimated
turnout last year for a similar salute after the Red Wings' first
championship in 42 years.
By 10:30 a.m., fans crammed behind
barricades along the parade route were 10-deep in some areas, and as they
waited for the parade to actually begin, groups broke out in spontaneous
cheers of "Let's Go Red Wings."
Call this year's sweep a victory
for 'Vlady,' grounds for a city's celebration that the Red Wings' Darren McCarty
looked forward to moments after helping clinch another Stanley Cup.
"We're bringing it home, baby," he mugged for a television camera. "And
there ain't no party like a Detroit party!"
Though this year's
party in some ways promised to mirror last year's, the Red Wings' route to
repeating as champions was far different.
First there was the
limo accident that injured Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov.
the offseason, Detroit traded goaltender Mike Vernon -- the
MVP of last year's playoffs. And the club withstood Sergei Fedorov's
holdout that had him miss 59 games last season before the center agreed to
a six-year, $38 million deal.
"For those who questioned the
wisdom of signing Sergei Fedorov," Archer said Wednesday, "I think they
clearly understand his value to the team."
The Wings touted
their latest title as a tribute to Mnatsakanov and Konstantinov - once
considered among the league's top defensemen before the crash that left him
watching Tuesday night's clincher from a wheelchair.
this season around trying to repeat, but also winning it for Vlady and
Sergei,' Detroit forward Joe Kocur said.
"It is something we
will never forget, and to win it in the fashion we did and to have him here
and to see that smile on his face, and the improvements he has made in his
life since the accident, it's something you can't explain."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.