Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 02
The Stanley Cup Journal

Joe Nieuwendyk visits former teammate Mike
Joe Nieuwendyk visits former teammate Mike at a nearby rehabilitation centre.
(Friday, June 13) -- Walk under a ladder and you can kiss that rabbit's foot goodbye. It's Friday the thirteenth - ominous to some and just another day to others. Is it a coincidence that no New Jersey Devil has ever worn sweater number 13? If you buy into the whole triskaidekaphobia thing, then the Devils did well to stay away from anything to do with the number 13 this spring.

After visiting schools on Wednesday morning, Joe Nieuwendyk received permission to visit an old teammate from his days at Cornell University, with the Stanley Cup in tow. Joe's friend Mike is paralyzed, but the arrival of the Stanley Cup did wonders to brighten the spirits of Mike and a number of other patients at the Rehabilitation Centre. "Winning the Stanley Cup is amazing, and having fun with it is great, but for me, this is the part of winning the Cup that makes it so special," said the Devil veteran.

By 4:45 Wednesday afternoon, three limousines arrived at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on Broadway for a taping of 'The Late Show with David Letterman.' Letterman's guests were Lauren Graham of 'Gilmore Girls,' sportscaster Marv Albert and a band called Bright Eyes who have a CD titled, 'Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground.'

Stanley Cup on its way to meet David Letterman
Devils Corey Schwab, Scott Gomez, Jim McKenzie, Turner Stevenson and Colin White visit the 'Late Show with David Letterman' after their Stanley Cup victory.
As part of a routine called 'Is This Anything?', Letterman indicated that he has something behind the curtain to show the studio audience. Is it anything? They'll have to judge. The curtain opened to reveal several New Jersey Devils, dressed in their jerseys, there with the Stanley Cup. To a thunderous ovation, the team members ran through the crowd and out the doors at the rear of the studio. 'Is It Anything?' Oh yeah, it certainly is!

Dinner Wednesday night was a special celebration at Tao Asian Bistro, an exclusive New York City restaurant. During cinema's 'Golden Age,' Tao was one of New York City's most elaborate movie theatres but is now an incredible restaurant featuring beef so absolutely awesome that it sells for $10 an ounce. The Stanley Cup was placed on a 16-foot statue of Buddha for continued good fortune (more of that 'lucky 13' theme!).

Jim McKenzie and Turner Stevenson, who have emerged as the 'unofficial Keepers of the Cup,' provided some New York City residents with random acts of kindness. Stevenson surprised a construction worker manning a jackhammer in the middle of a busy intersection with a glimpse of the Stanley Cup up close and personal. Then, most of the Devils attended Game 4 of the NBA final between the New Jersey Nets and the San Antonio Spurs back at the Continental Airlines Arena. Between the third and fourth quarters, the Devils went out onto the court, greeted by a prolonged standing ovation. Buddha's luck rubbed off - New Jersey edged the Spurs 77-76.

The Stanley Cup appears at the New Jersey Nets playoff game
The Stanley Cup's appearance with the Devils at the New Jersey Nets/San Antonio Spurs basketball game helped the Nets edge the Spurs 77-76. Michael Rupp is pictured in the foreground.
Thursday morning at 8:15, captain Scott Stevens arrived at the studio with the Stanley Cup for an appearance on 'Live with Regis and Kelly.' Regis Philbin was away and the guest host was Justin Guarini from 'American Idol' reknown. Other guests were Adrien Turner from 'All My Children' and singer Monica. Then, the Stanley Cup was placed back in its specially-constructed traveling case and, alongside handlers Mike Bolt and Walt Neubrand from the Hockey Hall of Fame, was on the 11:10AM flight back to Toronto for the 2003 NHL Awards Gala.

Martin Brodeur spent some time at the Hockey Hall of Fame Thursday afternoon before he attended the NHL Awards. It was a brilliant night for the Devils' backstopper. Martin was a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player (won by Peter Forsberg of Colorado), but collected a Hummer-full of hardware

Captain Crunch and Stan meet Kelly
Scott Stevens, 'Captain Crunch', visits the 'Regis & Kelly Show' with guest host Justin Guarini from 'American Idol'.
Brodeur was selected to the NHL's First All-Star Team, was a co-recipient of the William Jennings Trophy (best goals against average) with Roman Cechmanek and Robert Esche of the Philadelphia Flyers and was honoured with the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best netminder. "Everyone asks me why I don't have the Vezina, and now I do," beamed Brodeur. His formidable competition came from Ed Belfour of the Leafs and Marty Turco of the Stars.

Later today (Friday), the Stanley Cup returns to New York City for a visit to the Stock Exchange and a baseball game. Tomorrow (Saturday), the Devils will celebrate their Stanley Cup victory with their fans outside the Continental Airlines Arena.

Visit the Stanley Cup Journal again Monday to find out why the Yankees' Roger Clemens so badly wanted the Stanley Cup's good luck on Friday the thirteenth.

Kevin Shea is a hockey journalist and historian based in Toronto.

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