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Penguins wait on others for Skates & Plates

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Kate Guerriero
Sunday, March 14, 2010
 

It's hard to top an evening being wined and dined by a waitstaff that caters to your every whim ... that is, of course, unless your server just happens to be one of the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Do not say, 'Check, please' to your hockey waiter," advised emcee Bob Pompeani.

Advice duly noted, more than 320 fanatics enjoyed the best seat in the house Tuesday at the Carnegie Music Hall for Skates & Plates, the annual sell out that goes from zero to full capacity in a matter of minutes every year and raises some serious coin for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and the Mario Lemieux Foundation .

First period began with a special VIP reception in the Hall of Architecture where the suits, a sprinkling of primping PYT's (pretty young things) and memorabilia toting diehards of all ages eagerly awaited the arrival of their favorite number on the roster. Rubbing elbows with the Penguins front office, including a very svelte prez David Morehouse (with Vanessa ) and CEO Ken Sawyer (with Shirley ), the who's who also passed the time chatting with the Consol Energy's Nick DeIuliis, no doubt to get the latest and greatest on the highly anticipated new Igloo.

Upon being ushered to our seats in the Music Hall Foyer, it didn't take long for the games to officially begin.

"Please remember that the waiters are working for tips ... but feel free to work them over and give them a hard time," quipped head coach Dan Bylsma (with Mary Beth ), whose plates were served and cleared by none other than the heir apparent to the Lemieux throne, Sidney Crosby.

In between posing for photos, signing autographs and provoking more than a few dozen squeals, our waiters kept the courses coming and the wine flowing without breaking a sweat. And when we heard not one, but two, dinner trays dropping to the floor behind the scenes (resulting in a thunderous crash and an even more thunderous round of applause), we have to admit that we immediately started placing bets on who was guilty of skating onto thin ice.

We saw Mario Lemieux Foundation prez Tom Grealish; director Nancy Angus; Cystic Fibrosis board prez Bob Feldman with son, Emery, and director Mary Pat Joseph; Trib Total Media prez Ralph Martin with Sharon; Penguins' assistant coaches Mike Yeo (with Tanya ) and Tony Granato (with Linda ); goaltending coach Gilles Meloche; Jen and Bryan Trottier (showing off his own collection of Stanley Cup rings); Nick Monico; Rob Hofmann; Drew Parish; Karin and Gerry Girasek; Missy Tiley; Dave Andrews with son, Connor; Stephen Tritch; Jake Ploeger with son, Brody; Brett Pitcairn with son, Carter; Jim and Melanie Crockard; and Laural and Chad Ziemba.

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