Octopus devoured at Penguins rally in Market Square

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The sun and a cooked octopus made appearances in Market Square today for a rally as the Penguins head into the Stanley Cup finals.

Under a bright blue sky, several hundred people joined Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in chanting "Let's Go Pens" and "We Want the Cup."

The Penguins face the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Detroit. For $5, fans can watch the game inside the Mellon Arena.

Fans in Market Square painted their faces, constructed aluminum foil Stanley Cups and wore their finest black and gold to support the Penguins.

"I've been waiting half my life for this to happen," said Andrea Hinchberger, 27, of Monroeville. The Penguins won back-to-back cups in 1991 and 1992.

Ms. Hinchberger's friend, Bill Dakak, woke up at 3 a.m. to catch a ride from Indiana, Pa., for the rally. Her 4-year-old daughter, Emily, came to the rally with her cheek painted with a #12 for her favorite player, Upper St. Clair-native Ryan Malone.

Dan Wholey, owner of Wholey's Fish Market in the Strip District, brought a specially cooked octopus on stage to demonstrate that "octopus are for eating, they're not for throwing" -- referring to the Detroit tradition of throwing octopuses onto the ice.

Mr. Ravenstahl, greeted by calls of "Luke" and boos from some fans angered by a dispute over whether the city would allow the display of Reebok-sponsored Penguins banners, received cheers for eating -- and chewing and chewing -- a piece of octopus.

The Penguins organization thanked the crowd for sticking by the team. "A little over a year ago, we weren't sure what our future held," Penguins President David Morehouse told the crowd. "We wouldn't be here today without all of you."

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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