DETROIT - Bars stockpiled beer, police promised to maintain order and fans geared up to celebrate the Detroit Red Wings' fourth Stanley Cup championship in 11 seasons.
In the suburb of Royal Oak, police officers from "about a dozen different agencies" were being called in to assist with crowd control ahead of last night's Game 5 between the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena, deputy Police Chief Chris Jahnke said.
Jahnke said he anticipated "a celebratory crowd," but added, "if there are individuals who decide to act up . . . we're going to arrest those people so it doesn't ruin it for everyone else."
In 2002, the last time the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, large crowds amassed in Royal Oak on the night of the victory, forcing police to close some streets before fans began dispersing early the next day. Several arrests were made for offenses such as malicious mischief, public intoxication and assault and battery.
Detroit police policy withholds staffing details of special events, but the department does have a contingency plan in place and necessary resources available in the event of a Red Wings victory, spokesman James Tate said.
The Red Wings' championship bid restored the luster to a storied franchise that went into the regular season last fall with a palpable lack of buzz.
The lockout that canceled the 2005 season, the retirements or departures of fan favorites like Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and Brett Hull, and competition for tight entertainment dollars in a recession-wracked economy were blamed for empty seats at Joe Louis Arena.
But Red Wings fever grew as the team rolled toward its fourth consecutive President's Trophy, honoring the team with the NHL's best regular-season record.
Excitement escalated further as baseball's Detroit Tigers fell short of much preseason hype and the Detroit Pistons were bounced once again from the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Red Wings went into last night's game with a 15-2 record in Stanley Cup finals games going back to their sweep of the Flyers in 1997.
The Red Wings swept Washington the following season to become the last NHL team to claim back-to-back Cups.
The Red Wings also won the Stanley Cup in 2002 by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, four games to one. *