Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 42

The Detroit Red Wings' eleventh Stanley Cup banner is prepared to be taken out onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Considering the lack of lazy, hazy days over the past four months, it truly was the summer that time forgot. Yet, it was a summer that no Red Wings fan will ever forget. But after close to 90 days entertaining friends, families and communities with hockey's greatest trophy, the summer of celebrations officially concluded with the season-opening championship banner raising.

Thursday, October 9 was the first game on the NHL's 2008-09 schedule, and featured the Toronto Maple Leafs challenging the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena in Hockeytown.

Among the invited guests were several Red Wings' Hall of Famers, including Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio, as well as the Hall of Fame's most cherished silverware. Along with the Stanley Cup were each of the trophies the Red Wings collected last season, a glittering array that included the the Presidents' Trophy (first place finish during the regular season), the Clarence Campbell Bowl (West Division champions), the Frank J. Selke Award (given to Pavel Datsyuk as the league's best defensive forward), the Lady Byng Trophy (awarded to Datsyuk as the NHL's most gentlemanly player), the Norris Trophy (earned by captain Nicklas Lidstrom for being the NHL's premier defenceman), the Jennings Trophy (awarded to the goaltending team with the lowest goals against average, in this case, Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek) and the Conn Smythe Trophy (Henrik Zetterberg's reward for being the most valuable playoff performer in 2008).

Members of the Red Wings 2008-09 roster crowd around the Cup and their most recent Stanley Cup banner.
(Bill Wellman/HHOF)
With the Maple Leafs looking on in envy from the visitors' bench (including coach Ron Wilson, whose Uncle Johnny was part of the ceremony), the Stanley Cup was placed on a puck-shaped pedestal at centre ice by Nicklas Lidstrom, and was surrounded by its sister trophies. A video montage chronicling highlights from the 2008 playoffs elicited cheers from the sellout crowd of 20,066.

Hall of Fame legends Howe, Lindsay and Delvecchio then brought the 2008 Stanley Cup banner onto the ice surface and handed it to current members of the team. Chris Chelios, in spite of a broken leg, was in uniform for the presentation, as were several young members of last year's team who are scheduled to start the season in the American Hockey League. Ironically, current Wings Ty Conklin and Marian Hossa were with Pittsburgh last spring, the team the Wings defeated to capture Lord Stanley's Cup.

Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper and teammates clipped the banner to a waiting cord and with fans, the team and the Leafs looking on in awe, the franchise's 11th Stanley Cup banner was raised to the rafters amidst jubilation.

* * *

The Maple Leafs spoiled Detroit's stirring season opener, edging the champs 3-2.

After the game, NHL Face-Off Rocks featured a performance by Alanis Morissette. Performing in Montreal, Alanis rocked out with 'Versions of Violence' from her recently-released album, 'Flavors of Entanglement'. "I've been a hockey fan since I was fresh out of the womb," she told nhl.com.

But the drama was reserved for British rockers Def Leppard. With the band poised on stage at Detroit's Fox Theater, a motorcycle driven by Darren McCarty with Kyle Quincey cradling the Stanley Cup behind him, roared up the aisle of the historic theatre and parked by the stage. The Wings climbed off the bike, hoisted the Cup for the partisan crowd, then handed the Stanley Cup to lead singer Joe Elliott while the rhythm section maintained the beat of the hit 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'.

The 2007-08 Stanley Cup banner is finally raised to the rafters at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. A permanent reminder of the 2008 Stanley Cup championship!
Elliot grabbed the Stanley Cup, raised it over his head and then placed it on a pedestal side-stage…except he placed the Cup upside down! The crowd reacted accordingly, and the singer commented, "We're soccer boys; what do we know." Quincey walked across the stage and righted Lord Stanley's historic trophy as the band kicked into their hit.

After the media ran with the story, Def Leppard's Joe Elliot stated, "I will, as always, take full responsibility for what happened because I have big pucks. However, someone at the NHL should have known better and informed me first instead of keeping the Stanley Cup under lock and key until the last minute. The practice run the day before with a coffeemaker went swimmingly because it, like every other sporting cup I've ever seen, was wider at the top than the base."

Whether the Cup was intentionally placed upside down has fuelled rabid debate. If nothing else, and trying to find the silver lining, the incident gave viewers the chance to see the Hockey Hall of Fame's current logo newly engraved on the bottom of hockey's greatest trophy.

* * *

And so ends another Stanley Cup summer. It's been a great summer of celebrating and reflecting on a highly successful season for Detroit, but it's now back into the trenches for all the NHL teams, anxious to prove that they deserve to win the Stanley Cup in 2009.

We thank you for joining us for each entry this summer, but with the banner raising, the final page of this edition of the Stanley Cup Journal will be turned. Join us through the season as we bring you special editions of the Stanley Cup Journal, and work towards finding out whether the Red Wings will repeat their success, or be succeeded by a new Stanley Cup champion.

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Kevin Shea is one of the contributors to 'Travels With Stanley' by The Keepers of the Cup,
a book of geography and history lessons taught through the travels of the Stanley Cup (Fenn Publishing).

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
 
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  >> View videos straight from the Keepers of the Cup!
  >> Check out the all-time list of Detroit Red Wing Honoured Members
  >> See our tribute to the Red Wing dynasty teams of the 1950's
  >> Take a look at the 2002 Stanley Cup tour through our photo gallery