PITTSBURGH -- The appearance of the "Stanley Express" puzzled even numerous police officers on site for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. Some of them even had their cell phones out, taking pictures.
The "Stanley Express" is an old limousine on top of a monster truck chassis, painted up in Detroit Red Wings colors. "This car is illegal!" yelled some of the Pittsburgh Penguins fans. Funny enough, the vehicle had a USDOT registration number on the right side. It gives us hope that the car industry is not dead in the U.S.
After I saw the Express, something weird happened. I was standing to the side of the main entrance watching fans getting ready for Tuesday night's game. Some hundreds of them were waiting in lines with their tickets in hand, getting ready to enter the arena. Out of nowhere, a young man ran by the line of people and snatched a ticket out of the hand this poor woman and took off. The lady was so shell-shocked that she didn't even try to run after the thug, and only yelled: "Stop that guy! He took my ticket!"
The thief ran towards the trees and bushes near the arena, throwing away his hat and ripping his Pittsburgh Steelers' jersey that had a No. 08 on the back with the name "Obama." (Seriously.) He was trying to get lost in the crowd, but was stopped and wrestled to the ground by a Pittsburgh fan who had been chasing him. He was detained by an undercover police officer wearing a blue Crosby jersey and a Penguins' hat.
Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review adds some interesting details to this strange story:
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Two Guerins played a role Tuesday for the Penguins in Game 3. The team received word Wednesday that season-ticket holder Florence Winne had tickets for the game stolen from her hand as she stood outside Mellon Arena.
Winne yelled, "Stop, he stole my ticket!" as the culprit ran down the hill. Winne told the Penguins a "nice man" bolted from the crowd of fans waiting to enter, chased and caught the ticket-stealer. That nice man was Penguins RW Bill Guerin 's brother, John.
Some of the sights from Pittsburgh:
Getting closer to Pittsburgh on the Interstate 76 it is impossible not to notice all the electronic road signs telling you that the Stanley Cup finals are in town. "You are on the road to Stanley Cup" reads one of them. It's exactly right. But, as Japers' Rink pointed out, it might also say ""continue on I-76 to I-80 to I-75 North."
Walking up to the Mellon Arena I noticed a Pittsburgh fan carrying a replica inflatable Stanley Cup. "Free Candy" was the name on the jersey. Free candy for everyone?
The square in front of the Mellon Arena was almost full at least three hours before the game. Pittsburgh fans were watching playoff highlights and sang and clapped along to some song that, honestly, was like a bad audition on the "American Idol."
Every Red Wings fan approaching the arena was greeted and followed to the entrance by a group of young Penguins fans chanting and making them feel unwelcomed.
If you try really hard, you may be able to spot the Red Wings fans.
Finally, a glimpse at Kris Draper's locker in the Mellon Arena visitor's room. Looks just like him.
Additional reporting by Greg Wyshynski/Puck Daddy