Stanley Cup flew to Montreal early last week for a little R and R. Ever since the New York Rangers won custody of Stanley on June 14, the Cup has been runnething all over town. Like a loose puck it has been slapped from bar to nightclub to ballpark to ballroom to racetrack to squad car to firehouse to strip joint. Along the way it has been kissed, petted, hugged, massaged, fondled and shaken in exultation by thousands of fans. Many have taken sips from its ample bowl. "God only knows whose lips have been on that thing," says Bruce Lifrieri, the Rangers' massage therapist.
New York faithful hadn't had their hands on the Cup in 54 years, and their celebratory pawing took its toll: The Cup was beginning to look as if it had been crashing around the rink with the hockey players. Which is why Stanley was finally shipped off to a Montreal silversmith for repair.
Was the Cup scratched? Chipped? Nicked?
"There was a little bit of everything," reports Louise St. Jacques, who helped with soldering. The bowl was cracked, the base was loose, the body dented. "I can't say the Rangers did a terrible thing to the Cup," St. Jacques says. "It just needs to be pampered, that's all."
Pampered? No way. Roughhousing is part of the trophy's tradition. Over its 101 years, the Cup has been lost, hidden, stolen, dismantled, left on the side of a road, chucked in a graveyard, drop-kicked into Ottawa's Rideau River and used as an ashtray, a peanut dish and a planter for geraniums. Fourteen years ago Clark Gillies of the New York Islanders let his dog slurp out of the Cup. Three years ago Stanley was found at the bottom of Pittsburgh Penguin Mario Lemieux's swimming pool. But the greatest injustice of all might have been perpetrated by the 1940 Rangers, who used the Cup as a chamber pot. Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick and his teammates baptized Stanley with post-victory piddle.
The 1994 Rangers are making sure their title is well-urned. Mark Messier and Brian Leetch made Stanley do Stupid Cup Tricks on David Letterman's Late Show. Ed Olczyk carted it to Belmont racetrack and let Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin use it as a feed bag. But for sheer profaneness nobody beat Brian Noonan and Nick Kypreos, who brought the Cup on MTV Prime Time Beach House and allowed it to be stuffed with raw clams and oysters. (On the show, Noonan denied he had used the Cup as a rolling pin to make muffins. Kypreos, who addressed the Cup as Lord Stanley, swore he hadn't played kick the can with it. Lord Stanley, appearing in a T-shirt, baseball cap and false mustache, was in no condition to argue.)
Ole Peterson thinks such shenanigans are blasphemous. Peterson, a former silversmith whose family was commissioned by the NHL in 1962 to redesign the Cup, thinks Stanley's reputation is ruined. "The amount of disrespect shown it is mind-boggling," says the 67-year-old Montrealer. "I don't blame the Rangers. They've waited 54 years. I do blame the NHL. It should tighten its control over exuberant players. These jocks should not be behaving like jerks."
That said, here are the highlights of Stanley's adventures this summer:
JUNE 14: Five hours after captain Messier and Lord Stanley skate triumphantly around the rink in Madison Square Garden following New York's victory over the Vancouver Canucks to clinch the NHL championship, the Cup shows up at a Ranger victory party in a Manhattan saloon called the Auction House. "The Cup stopped traffic and started a parade wherever it went," says Auction House proprietor Johnny Barounis. "It was the leader of the pack, a kind of Pied Piper, and it made people do a lot of crazy things."
Everyone wants to swig champagne out of Stanley. The more notable swiggers on this night include John McEnroe, actor Tim Robbins and Rod Gilbert, who never got to hoist Stanley in 18 years as a Ranger. When Gilbert accepts Messier's offer to drink from the Cup, Wall Street analyst Mike McAvoy, a Ranger fan for 28 of his 36 years, tilts the brimming bowl toward Gilbert. Gilbert takes a long swallow and exclaims, "Now I can go home." McAvoy declines to take a gulp. "I don't feel worthy enough," he explains.