Just 24 hours after raising their second Stanley Cup banner in as many years, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been forced to return the Stanley Cup back to the NHL after a dismal 10-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. The banner must also be removed from PPG Paints Arena, effective immediately. It will likely be stored in an undisclosed location, along with Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy and the 2013 Louisville basketball trophy.

“That was beyond embarrassing. We actually made this decision about 3 minutes into the second period,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the game. “We are especially disappointed because the players’ names had just been engraved on the Cup, so we have some tough decisions to make on how to proceed regarding the Cup itself.”

Team captain Sidney Crosby took the news especially hard and was seen sobbing as the team boarded the bus to the airport.

”I better get a participation trophy,” Crosby could be heard muttering as he got on the bus.

Ironically, the Penguins head back home to Pittsburgh to face the Nashville Predators, the team that the Penguins defeated in the 2017 Stanley Cup. League sources say they had suggested the Penguins just give the Cup to the Predators Saturday, but that the Preds had no idea what the Cup was. “They kept asking ‘Who is Stanley?’ I think they thought we were talking about power tools.”

Jason S. Parini