PITTSBURGH — Sensing an opportunity to celebrate, Penguins fans have assembled in the thousands outside Consol Energy Center to watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on a big screen TV.
Such was the fervor in this city — one that hasn’t witnessed a major-league team clinch a title at home since 1960 — that a second screen was raised in Market Square to accommodate those who couldn’t find space to watch outside the arena.
The hope now is that things don’t turn rowdy. In 2009, after the Steelers won the Super Bowl, some fans took the celebrations too far.
Police are already preparing for a possible celebration around town should the Penguins win Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, leaders detailed some of the safety measures that are being put into place.
Guy Costa, the city’s chief of operations, said Public Works crews began going to various parts of the city Wednesday to enforce a little-known ordinance in advance of the Pittsburgh Penguins potentially winning the Stanley Cup during the Thursday night game at CONSOL Energy Center.
Looking to head off an unruly victory celebration – assuming there is one – Costa said crews will collect abandoned furniture and empty trash containers. He’s urging businesses to do the same before Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
“The less fuel that’s out there, the better off we will be,” Costa said Wednesday. The city even plans to empty or lock newspaper boxes so revelers will have less fuel to set on fire.
It’s been five years since Vancouver had a Stanley Cup riot following the Canucks’ Game 7 loss to the Bruins. In that city, fans were encouraged to come downtown to watch the game on a big screen, and that’s where the trouble started.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there will be trouble here tonight. For now, it’s all fun and excitement. Hopefully it stays that way.