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The Red Wings came to do two things win the Cup and chew bubble gum...well I guess they are all out of bubble gum!!!
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Sea of Red

Thousands play hooky to celebrate Red Wings second title

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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 rally.

Vladimir 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.

Coach 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 the finals.

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 explained.

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.''

Howard 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 cape.

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.

Archer 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.

During 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.

'We built 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."

 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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