Nothing like mugging with Stanley

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- How popular is the Stanley Cup?

At a reception for the media covering the Cup final on Sunday night, more people were in line to have their picture taken with Stanley than there were at the bar for free beer.

Some hugged old Stanley during a photo. Some kissed the old mug. Others just read the names and studied the history.

The Cup doesn't usually get out much at this time of year. It travels worldwide, going to the home of each member of the championship team in the summer and makes special visits during the regular season. But when the actual Stanley Cup final is under way it doesn't make many appearances until its presented to the winner.

It's amazing how people flock to the Cup.

Media types aren't supposed to act like fans, but there were plenty of people with notepads who took a look at the names on the trophy and then found somebody with a camera to take a snapshot.

Sun photographer Tony "Trigger" Caldwell jokingly said he should set up a booth and charge $10 a photo. If he had -- and he kindly took plenty of pictures for anybody who asked -- Caldwell would have been able to pocket a lot of cash in that room.

While this event was only for the media, a group of young hockey players in town for a Memorial Day tournament gathered outside the room and, courtesy of NHL VP of communications Frank Brown, were able to get their picture taken with Stanley before it left the building.

The Cup will make the trip to Ottawa on Thursday. It will be at a couple of receptions the NHL has for corporate customers and will make an appearance Friday at the Brookstreet Hotel where the surviving members of the 1956-60 Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens will be honoured: Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Tom Johnson, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore and Jean-Guy Talbot.

You sometimes wonder why players want to win the Cup so badly. Why it has special meaning. Well, spend a few minutes in the same room with the Cup and you'll quickly find out why: It's neat just to look at and think about the champions who truly get to enjoy it the most.

OFF THE GLASS: Senators G Martin Gerber is making the best of a tough situation. Gerber, in his third Cup final in four seasons as a backup, winning it last season with the Hurricanes, is trying to enjoy the ride. "I'm really fortunate to be at the right spot at the right time," said Gerber. "Last year, it was disappointing. I got off to a bad start in the playoffs and, after that, I was in and out. This year, it's more just like watching, but it's been going great for the whole team. That's all that matters." ... The NHL is having a tough time making inroads in the U.S. and the matchup between Anaheim and Ottawa isn't helping. Only six major American daily newspapers -- Boston Globe, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Daily News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Denver Post -- sent reporters to cover the Cup final. However, there was strong coverage in the local Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times ... While much has been made of Senators coach Bryan Murray being without a contract for next season, don't forget that last year Carolina coach Peter Laviolette was scheduled to become a free agent and signed a five-year deal a week after he won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes.


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