As keeper of the Stanley Cup, Walt Neubrand may well have the coolest job in the world, hanging out at Steve Yzerman's cottage, hiking up the Hollywood Hills to the Hollywood sign with Luc Robitaille and dropping in on Aerosmith with Jay Pandolfo. But the yin to the yang of this job is that he is the one thing that separates the Cup from chaos, loss and destruction.
Take this week -- 13 different airports.
At the crack of dawn the next morning, Neubrand will find that the charter jet sent by Staal's linemate Erik Cole from New York state won't accommodate the Cup's blue rectangular carrying case, adding to the already significant organizational burden Neubrand faces on a daily basis.
Of course, this will all be a walk in the park compared to two summers ago, when Neubrand arrived in Fort St. John, British Columbia, from Vancouver only to discover the Cup had not. It had been off-loaded in Vancouver when the flight was found to be overweight.
"All my buddies started calling. 'Ha, sucker, you lost the Cup.' I didn't lose it," insists the seventh grade teacher from Mississauga who's been handling the Cup for nine years.
So, here are the rules when the Cup comes to visit. No casinos, no strip clubs.
"Just any place that would make the Cup look undignified," says Neubrand. "If you take it to those kinds of places, it just cheapens it. It's like royalty or a religious leader. And you wouldn't find them in places like that."
Sources tell ESPN.com only one player has ever had his stay with the Cup cut short because of inappropriate behavior. Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek, in spite of warnings, tossed the Cup into his pool in the Czech Republic. The Cup was fished out, dried off and taken away in the middle of the afternoon.
-- Scott Burnside