Penguins fans storm the Square

Ravenstahl saws down a Red Wings logo, consumes octopus at rally to celebrate Pens

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What do you get when you mix Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, an octopus and a chain saw?

Nothing short of a raucous Penguins kickoff rally yesterday afternoon in Market Square.

Several hundred people -- sporting painted faces, homemade Stanley Cups and their finest black-and-gold attire -- joined the mayor yesterday to support the Penguins, who face the Detroit Red Wings tonight in the first game of the Stanley Cup.

"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, a feat that Ms. Hinchberger "barely" remembers.

Ms. Hinchberger's friend, Bill Dakak, woke up at 3 a.m. to catch a ride from Indiana, Pa., for the rally, and her 4-year-old daughter, Emily, came to the rally with her cheek painted with a No. 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.

Mr. Ravenstahl and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are trying to work out a Stanley Cup bet involving which town can call itself Hockeytown, USA, said the mayor's spokeswoman, Joanna Doven.

Gov. Ed Rendell announced yesterday that if the Penguins win, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has agreed to wear a Penguins jersey while scarfing down a nutritious meal of hot dogs from The Original Hot Dog Shop and a Primanti Brothers sandwich, followed by Eat 'n Park cookies.

In front of a sign reading "Time to Redd Up the Red Wings," the mayor closed the rally by using a chain saw to "clip the wings" off of a Red Wings logo on a piece of poster board.

Earl Barker, a plumber with the city of Pittsburgh, brought his own prop to the rally: a homemade Stanley Cup that he constructed yesterday morning with several buckets, aluminum foil and his wife's salad bowl.

"She's kind of upset," he said.

Hans Sieber, of Mt. Lebanon, showed up at the rally with his 23-month old twins, Nick and Theo, who "just learned how to say 'hockey' the other day," he said.

Dianne Parillo, of Bloomfield, "had a ball" blowing bubbles with a Penguins bubble blower that she recently picked up for $1 in the Strip District.

"We want that Cup back home here in Pittsburgh," she said. "Bring it right here, Lord, down from heaven."


Anya Sostek can be reached at asostek@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1308.


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