To Walt Neubrand, every day with the Stanley Cup is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.
Like Bill Murray's character in the 1993 comedy, each new day seems to resemble the previous one for one of the Hockey Hall of Fame's "Keepers of the Cup."
"I'm dead tired," Neubrand said Thursday from Burlington, Vt., after a weeklong swing that took him to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, the United States and Canada.
Neubrand and the Cup largely have been inseparable since the Lightning won it in June. He kept it company for three weeks in North America in June and July, took a couple of days off while Phil Pritchard and Mike Bolt traveled with the Cup to Eastern Europe then rejoined Bolt in Prague, Czech Republic, on July 23.
Neubrand seldom stays in the same place for more than a few hours at a time, keeping a constant vigil over the Cup while functioning on little, if any, sleep.
If not for the notes he takes, the affable Canadian might have trouble retracing his steps, as he did trying to recall details from his visit to Slovakia with Lightning center Martin Cibak on July 25. "I can't remember," Neubrand said, frustrated. "Can you believe that?"
After consulting his notes, here's what he remembered:
Pavel Kubina grew up in Janovice, a hamlet of about 1,700 in the Czech Republic. But more than 5,000 people flocked to the area July 24 to view the Cup.
Traveling by limousine, Kubina took the Cup to a hotel news conference, shopping mall, his parents' home and a Catholic church for a special service in his honor.
He played in a charity soccer game with other NHL players, including Vancouver's Marek Malik and Ottawa's Vaclav Varada and Martin Prusek. He also visited a hospital, the rink where he played junior hockey and a hotel party.
After the party, Kubina and Stan Neckar went barhopping, polishing off 85 bottles of champagne in 21/2 hours - not drinking it, necessarily, but spraying it and shooting corks at ceiling lights.
The mode of transportation changed Sunday as Cibak escorted the Cup around Liptovsky-Mikulas, Slovakia, in the Hummer he had delivered from Tampa, a Florida license plate on the back.
"It was funny driving around," Neubrand said. "Everybody was looking at his truck."
Cibak took the Cup to the apartment where he was raised, a water park, a fitness center (where he posed for pictures with friends from his ballhockey days), an American restaurant where he ate dumplings out of the Cup and an arena where he played in a charity hockey game along with NHLers such as Philadelphia's Branko Radivojevic.
The highlight was a reception in the town square that drew 10,000 people. Cibak and Co. arrived in a postal truck, acting as if the Slovakian post office, one of his sponsors, had delivered the Cup.
Fredrik Modin enjoyed a couple of low-key days with the Cup on Tuesday in Sweden. A police escort accompanied the Cup to the arena where he played junior hockey in Njurunda. Spectators posed for photos, and Modin's Lightning jersey was raised to the rafters.
After a few hours, the Cup went to Modin's house, where he visited with family and friends. The evening culminated with a backyard party for about 30 people, where Modin served birch shots.
"It tasted like you drank a liquid birch tree," Neubrand said, laughing.
"It was gross."
Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis hosted the Cup on Thursday in Burlington, Vt. He took it to a hotel, where about 4,000 people stopped for photos, before heading to the rink where he played at the University of Vermont. A private party and a hospital visit also were planned.
Dave Andreychuk had the Cup on Friday in Hamilton, Ontario, where Mountain Arena was renamed in his honor. He played junior hockey in the arena, home to the Junior B Red Wings.