When the barkeeps run out of Cristal, they switch to Dom Perignon, then White Star and, finally, Budweiser. "By closing time, we were down to backwash," says Barounis, "but we could have spat in the Cup and people still would have wanted to drink out of it."
Amid all the rock and revelry, Ranger Esa Tikkanen empties the Cup and brings it out to the street. "This trophy isn't for the players," he says, lifting Stanley skyward. "We won it for you, the good people of New York." The good people stand in a conga line and pass the 32-pound symbol of hockey supremacy down 89th Street toward the East River.
Was Barounis afraid someone might run off with the Cup?
"Hell, no," he says. "Where you gonna run with that thing?"
Another time, Messier runs Stanley over to Scores, an East Side strip joint, thereby reviving a topless tradition he started in 1987 with his former team, the Edmonton Oilers, when he took his teammates and the Cup to a local dive. The clientele at Scores appreciates the gesture. "It was the first time I'd seen our customers eager to touch something besides our dancers," says Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover. Stanley, in fact, becomes an integral part of the striptease show. The Cup dancing consists mostly of advanced aerobics, without, as it turns out, a lot of erotic content. What you'd call these gyrations is, of course, a matter of taste, which is never much of an issue at Scores.
JUNE 16: Ranger defenseman Sergei Zubov commandeers the Cup to a bash he's hosting at Restaurant National, a Russian nightclub in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn. Sausaged between Kings Fish Market and Andy's Womans World, the restaurant was prominently featured in the film Moscow on the Hudson. "We not fill Cup with borscht!" insists the club's manager, Simon Maklin. "Nobody touch him. When Rangers eat, I take him away from stage and put him inside office. When we wanna make a picture, I bring him out." Maklin promises that a photo of Stanley will hang on his Wall of Fame, between those of Jackie Mason and the wife of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
JUNE 17: Stanley is feted in a ticker-tape parade up Broadway, where it rides in a float with Mayor Rudy Giuliani's hockey-mad eight-year-old son, Andrew. After the parade and a few rounds at McSorley's bar, a cop named Jim Jones (not that Jim Jones) straps a seat belt around the Cup in his squad car and delivers it to another engagement.
JUNE 20: Kypreos and Leetch pace the deck of the China Club, popping champagne corks and showering open-mouthed patrons with bubbly. Meanwhile, freelance photographer Dominick Conde charges $20 for an 8-by-10 black-and-white glossy of anyone who wants to pose with Stanley. "People lined up like they were going to church," recalls Conde. "It was like the Cup was the Virgin Mary or something." Among the congregation are Jerry Rice, Brooke Shields and New York Yankee outfielder Daryl Boston, whose pinch-hit homer earlier that evening had beaten the Minnesota Twins. About the only customer who expressly says he won't pose with Stanley is Mickey Rourke, the actor turned prizefighter manqué. Maybe the Cup looked too much like the tomato cans he's fought.
JUNE 21: A press credential is issued at Yankee Stadium in the name of Stanley Cup, the homeliest pitcher since Warren Spahn. In the home clubhouse, though, the craven Yanks are worshiping a knockoff: the Stano Cup—a tinfoil-covered water jug that reposes in the locker of catcher Mike Stanley. When Messier, Leetch and Kypreos tote their Cup into the locker room, third baseman Wade Boggs offers to trade Stano for Stanley even-up.
A little later, the silver-plated Stanley waits in the dugout as Messier straps on the gear of the pinstriped Stanley and catches Steve Howe in the bullpen. Howe invites the Cup and its three Ranger keepers to the Yankees' pregame kangaroo court. The Rangers are each fined $5 for upstaging Boston's visit to the China Club the night before. "Daryl went to the club thinking he'd be treated as a hero," says Ranger p.r. man Barry Watkins, "but no one even recognized him. All anyone cared about was the Cup."