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Game 4 will feature 2 Stanley Cups

| Friday, May 23, 2008

They're going to miss him at the bar.

Stanley Cup will be in the igloo when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.

Cup, 59, of Saltsburg will receive a complimentary pair of tickets to the May 31 game at Mellon Arena, courtesy of Trib Total Media, parent company of the Tribune-Review.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," Cup said. "I think my wife was happier than I was because she's never been to a hockey game in her life."

The steelworker, an avid Penguins fan, was unable to purchase tickets to watch his favorite team skate for the trophy that bears his name. Until Thursday, Cup planned to watch the playoff games on a big screen TV with friends at the Tunnelton Inn, where his photo -- taken several years ago with him holding his namesake -- hangs above the bar.

Instead, he'll be close to the action when his favorite player, Evgeni Malkin, hits the home ice.

"That's fantastic," said Jan Nagg, owner of the Tunnelton Inn. "We're all excited for him, but it's too bad we all couldn't get tickets. It's a big deal for all of us."

Trish Hooper, chief operating officer of Trib Total Media, said she read a news story about Cup's plight and wanted to do something to help.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Hooper said. "I thought, 'How can we not have Stanley Cup at the Stanley Cup finals?'"

Sandra Cup, who was thrilled with the ticket offer, said she always came up short when she tried to do something special for her husband by sending him to a game. Her husband, whose back is elaborately tattooed with a Stanley Cup, was working in Avonmore when Hooper phoned their home yesterday.

"It's great being married to him," Sandra Cup said. "We're the best of friends, and I'm quite proud of him."

Hooper said the fourth game in the best-of-seven series has special significance because it is the first opportunity for either team to win the trophy. Although the Stanley Cup is physically present in the city hosting each game, it is not taken into the ice arena until the fourth game, she said.

"There's a chance that he could be there to watch the Penguins win it," she said.

If he is, Cup said, he's going to "party hard, that's for sure."

"I'm looking for the Pens to take it in six (games), but I'd love to see a sweep," Cup said. "I'd love to see those young boys take it in four."

Staff writer Jodi Weigand contributed to this report.

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