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Wings fans celebrate Stanley Cup with downtown parade

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) -Dallas Drake waited 14 seasons to win the Stanley Cup, and now he was ready to enjoy more of the spoils.

Two days after raising the hallowed trophy, the Red Wings forward rode in the back of a pickup truck before thousands of jubilant fans celebrating the team's latest title.

"It's a special feeling," Drake said Friday as fans chanted his name during the downtown parade. "I couldn't be prouder right now. I'm a little bit taken aback by it."

Spectators jammed Woodward Avenue for the parade that was to end with a rally at Hart Plaza on the city's riverfront

The Red Wings are following the path of the 2002 hockey team and the 2004 Pistons, who celebrated their triumphs with similar processions. The Red Wings clinched the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Goaltender Chris Osgood said he hadn't been that emotional about the Cup win until the parade.

"I've had to wipe away a few tears," he said. "This is why I play in Detroit."

Forward Dan Cleary, the first man from Newfoundland to win the Cup, called the accomplishment a high honor.

"I think everybody back in Newfoundland is proud," he said. "I'm proud. I can't wait to bring the Cup home."

The last vehicle in the parade carried captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who held the Cup aloft to the delight of the crowd.

Under sunny skies and with temperatures in the 80s, the crowd was filled with Red Wings fans bedecked in jerseys and other red-and-white gear. Some wore plush octopi on their heads, a nod to the team's mascot. One woman brought a real, albeit dead, octopus with her and swung it over her head, a la Joe Louis Arena building manager Al Sobotka.

These are good times for the Red Wings. The team set a record with 30 wins in the first half of the season, matching Montreal's record with 100 points for the eighth straight year. The Red Wings also extended the longest active streak in sports with its 17th straight postseason appearance.

Detroit's key players are under contract for at least next season, leaving only a handful of decisions during the offseason.

For spectator Corinne Gordon, the parade was bridge building. The Red Wings' six-game series win over the Penguins gave fans the chance to temporarily put aside the economic doldrums and the mayoral saga that have dominated the news for months.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former top aide, Christine Beatty, face criminal charges, including perjury, stemming from testimony during a whistle-blowers' trial in which the pair denied having a romantic relationship.

"There's been so much doom and gloom and separation between the city and suburbs because of what the mayor has done," Gordon said. "This brings people together."

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Associated Press writers Margaret Harding and David N. Goodman contributed to this report.

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