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Comparing Motor City and Steel City

Sports, business and pop culture define these blue collar cities

Friday, 05.23.2008 / 12:32 PM / Features
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Comparing Motor City and Steel City
DETROIT -- As the Red Wings and Penguins get set to face off in the 2008 Stanley Cup finals, we were interested in what other players besides Paul Coffey, Luc Robitaille and Jiri Slegr spent time playing in Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Paul Coffey
To our surprise, more than 70 players and coaches have spent parts of their careers -- including current Red Wings’ right wing Mikael Samuelsson -- in the Motor and Steel cities. Two coaches have toiled behind the Wings and Pens benches, Scotty Bowman, who won Cups in both cities, and Johnny Wilson.

Here is a list of guys who wore both uniforms:

Hank Bassen, Andy Bathgate, Marc Bergevin, Tom Bladon,
Gilbert Delorme
Mike Blaisdell, Patrick Boileau, Leo Boivin, Archie Briden, Andy Brown, Doug Brown, Charlie Burns, Alain Chevrier, Colin Campbell, John Chabot, Paul Coffey, Joe Daley, Billy Dea, Nelson Debenedet, Gilbert Delorme, Bob Dillabough, Bobby Dollas, Ron Duguay, Roy Edwards, Bob Errey, Val Fonteyne, Gord Fraser, Frank Fredrickson, Billy Harris, Bryan Hextall, Matt Hussey, Greg Johnson, Petr Klima, Nick Libett, Lowell MacDonald, Rick MacLeish, Pete Mahovlich, Gary McAdam, Kevin McClelland, Ab McDonald, Mike McMahon, Greg Millen, Kevin Miller, Dmitri Mironov, Jim Morrison, Larry Murphy, Ted Nolan, Hank Nowak, Fredrik Olausson, Dean Prentice, Noel Price, Jamie Pushor, Mike Ramsey, Luc Robitaille, Jim Rutherford, Mikael Samuelsson, Ulf Samuelsson, Tomas Sandstrom, Dwight Schofield, Doug Shedden, Jim Shires, Jiri Slegr, Al Smith, Ted Snell, Andre Sr. Laurent, Ron Stackhouse, Art Stratton, Errol Thompson, Bryan Watson, Jason Woolley, Ken Wregget, Warren Young.

Gordie Howe
Hockey Legends: In the ranks of NHL royalty, two of the greatest players have called Detroit and Pittsburgh home. Gordie Howe played 25 of his illustrious 32-year pro career in Detroit. His 1,850 NHL career points has only been surpassed by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Mr. Hockey won four Stanley Cups while playing for Detroit.

Not far behind on the all-time scoring lists is Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux. Even with a career plagued by injury and illness, he ranks seventh in NHL career points with 1,723.  Super Mario led the Penguins to their two Stanley Cups in 1991 and ‘92, and is the only player to ever own and captain an NHL team after he bought the Penguins out of bankruptcy in 1999.



Along the River: Both Detroit and Pittsburgh have famous rivers running through their landscape. Anyone who has been to a Red Wings game knows that Joe Louis Arena sits on the banks of the Detroit River. The Detroit River serves as dividing line for the United States and Canada.

Pittsburgh is surrounded by three major rivers, the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela.  Two rivers (Allegheny and Monongahela) serve as tributaries to the Ohio River, and they meet at Point State Park, a famous Pittsburgh landmark which hosts many city festivals and fairs.

Joe Louis Arena
Two Old Barns: The 2008 Stanley Cup finals will be hosted by two of the oldest NHL arenas, both with storied histories. Joe Louis Arena, named after the famous heavyweight champion, opened in 1979. Along with hosting the Red Wings, JLA features the best college hockey tournaments in the area in the Great Lakes Invitational and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association championships.

Mellon Arena, the home of the Penguins, opened in 1961, making it the oldest functioning NHL arena. The building was originally named the Pittsburgh Civic Center, and has been nicknamed ‘The Igloo’, due to its domed look and the team’s arctic mascot. 

The Pens are currently in the construction process of a new arena, which will keep the team in Pittsburgh until 2040. The construction of a new arena was a focal point on whether the team would be leaving their only home city in recent years.

Bench Boss Bowman: Scotty Bowman, the hall-of-fame NHL coach who won a record nine Stanley Cups, left his mark on both Pittsburgh and Detroit during his 33-year career. Bowman took over the Penguins’ bench for the late Bob Johnson in the 1991-92 season, guiding them to a second straight NHL championship.
 
Bowman came to Detroit in 1993-94, and helped in the re-construction of the Red Wings' dynasty. The legendary coach led Detroit to an NHL record 62 wins in 1996, then three Stanley Cup championships. In his last game coaching, the Red Wings captured the 2002 Cup, with Bowman wearing his skates during the third period so he could take one final lap with Lord Stanley.
 
Founding Families: Both Detroit and Pittsburgh were shaped by some of history’s greatest industrial leaders. Henry Ford built his legacy, and cars, in Detroit, while Andrew Carnegie turned Pittsburgh into the steel city.

Andrew Mellon - banker, industrialist, philanthropist and Secretary of the Treasury for three U.S. Presidents – was born in Pittsburgh. Mellon was at one time the third richest person in the U.S., behind only Ford and John D. Rockefeller. And yes, his corporation owns the naming rights to the Penguins’ arena.

Here are other industrial leaders from both cities: Detroit --Mike Ilitch (founder/owner of Little Caesars Pizza; owner of the Red Wings and Tigers; was born in Detroit); William Edward Boeing (founded the Boeing airplane company); Oscar Mayer (worked in his first meat market in Detroit after coming to the U.S. from Germany); Larry Page (creator of Google). Pittsburgh -- Henry J. Heinz (founder of Heinz ketchup; grew up in the south side of Pittsburgh); James Sinegal (founder and co-CEO of Costco); Washington Augustus Roebling (civil engineer who designed Brooklyn Bridge).

Leyland Factor: As manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986-96, Leyland was a two-time
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is greeted by Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom prior to a game in April. Leyland participated in a ceremonial puck drop.
National League Manager of the Year awards (1990, ‘92) and led the Pirates to three straight National League Championship Series appearances, starting in 1990. After leaving the Pirates, Leyland headed to Florida, where he won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 1997.

Now skipper of the Detroit Tigers, Leyland  has already guided the AL club to one World Series appearance in 2006 after beating the New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s in the AL playoffs. Leyland revived baseball in Detroit and was named American League Manager of the Year for his first-year performance.

Baseball Legends: Widely regarded as one of the best ballplayers ever, Ty Cobb spent 21 years with the Tigers organization, from 1905-26. He also served as player-coach for the Tigers from 1921-26. In his hall of fame career, Cobb batted .367 with 4,191 hits and 1,937 runs batted in.

Pittsburgh has a baseball legend of its own. Roberto Clemente played 18 hall of fame seasons for the Pirates before his tragic death in a plane accident in 1972 while trying to deliver earthquake relief to Nicaragua. He was a 12-time gold glove winner and all-star, and he was named National League MVP in 1966.

Pop Culture Clash: Besides having two outstanding hockey teams, Detroit and Pittsburgh have always been ahead of the pop culture curve in music and movies. Here is a head-to-head comparison of the most-notables:

MUSIC
Alice Cooper, Detroit vs. Bret Michaels, Pittsburgh: Cooper, the Detroit native, took some notes from horror movies to shock his audiences, while Poison’s lead singer Michaels is currently scaring people on his VH1 show Rock of Love.

Sonny Bono, Detroit vs. Perry Como, Pittsburgh: Both musicians made their marks on the early times of television - Bono starred with then-wife Cher on their 1960s variety show, while Como hosted his own shows in the 50s.

Madonna, Detroit vs. Christina Aguilera, Pittsburgh: Both have highly successful music careers (Madonna’s a little longer), and both have kissed Britney Spears – on the same stage.

Jack White, Detroit vs. Trent Reznor, Pittsburgh: Jack White and his bands (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) have been fighting Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails for the top of rock charts for the last decade. 

Other Detroit artists include: Aaliyah, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Kid Rock, Smokey Robinson, Bob Seger, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Xzibit.

SCREEN
Tim Allen, Detroit vs. Dennis Miller, Pittsburgh: One stand-up comic went for sit-coms, and the other chose talk shows.  Both have had successful careers, but Dennis Miller never got to star in Toy Story.

Francis Ford Coppola, Detroit vs. George Romero, Pittsburgh: Take your pick – The Godfather Trilogy or The Night of the Living Dead series.

Christie Brinkley, Detroit vs. Sharon Stone, Pittsburgh: Brinkley only had one movie role (“the girl in the Ferrari” in National Lampoon’s Vacation), but hey, they’re both Hollywood starlets.

Jeff Daniels, Detroit vs. Michael Keaton, Pittsburgh: The star of Dumb and Dumber grew up in Chelsea, Mich., and still lives there. Keaton may have looked even sillier when he tried to be the black knight in Batman.
 
Charlton Heston, Detroit vs. Jimmy Stewart, Pittsburgh: It’s tough to keep up with Heston, who played Moses, Ben-Hur, and the guy in Planet of the Apes, but Stewart may be one of the few that can.  After all, he did take over the Senate in Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and he gave a girl the moon in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Tom Selleck, Detroit vs. Jeff Goldblum, Pittsburgh: The mustache from Magnum P.I., and Monica’s love interest in Friends, was born in the 313.  Geena Davis’ ex-husband, meanwhile, lived in West Homestead, PA, before leaving to take part in Independence Day and Jurassic Park.

Derek Gluth contributed to this report.

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