Wednesday’s roundup: Penguins parade before 400,000

Associated Press

Pittsburgh — The Penguins turned around a once-disappointing season and fired a coach before winning a fourth Stanley Cup, adversity that seemed to make Wednesday’s citywide celebration that much sweeter.

Fans lined the victory parade route more than 10 deep as the players, coaches, their families and support staff rolled by in pickups, convertibles and amphibious duck boats.

“We were slow at one time but, man, were we fast when we finished,” general manager Jim Rutherford told the crowd at the end of the parade route.

The parade was held seven years to the day the 2009 team celebrated its Stanley Cup championship — the Penguins defeated the Red Wings that season — with a downtown victory lap. That parade drew about 375,000 spectators, and city and county public safety officials said this one topped out at 400,000.

“Well the one thing I’ve learned is this is one crazy sports town,” said coach Mike Sullivan, hired to replace Mike Johnston when the team was out of playoff contention in December.

Some fans arrived 12 hours ahead of time for the 11:30 a.m. parade, despite overnight drizzle.

The skies largely cleared, though, as fans threw ribbons and confetti, peered out of office windows and from parking garage platforms, and thronged the city’s main downtown streets.

Twins Pat and Joe Stevens, 19, drove 10 hours from Phil Kessel’s hometown, Madison, Wisc., to honor their favorite player.

Kessel joined the team in an offseason trade from Toronto, where fans often took out their frustrations on him in a city that hasn’t witnessed a Stanley Cup championship since 1967 — the year Pittsburgh joined the National Hockey League as one of six expansion teams.

“I was a big fan before, more now,” Pat Stevens said.

Zachary Sheler worked a 4 p.m.-10 p.m. shift at a convenience store in Johnstown on Tuesday before driving 60 miles west to grab a spot near the parade-ending stage by 3 a.m. He was holding a plastic replica of the Stanley Cup glued from “a 5-gallon bucket and just a bunch of Betty Crocker bowls from the Dollar Tree.”

“I just wanted to see the Pens bring back Lord Stanley,” said Sheler, 18.

Ice chips

The Hurricanes acquired forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell from the Blackhawks for two draft picks.

Carolina sent a second-round pick this year (No. 50), and a third-round pick next year to Chicago, which saves cap space.

... The Capitals say defenseman Karl Alzner had sports hernia surgery and is expected to be “healthy” before next season.

... The Rangers re-signed defenseman Chris Summers (Ann Arbor).