In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories…
Scene: 66 Mario Lemieux Place
Pittsburgh, Hill District
Det. Lennie Briscoe: Whaddawegot here?
Det. Ed Green: Penguins… nothing but dead penguins. Have to be really sick to pull this off.
Briscoe: Cause of death?
Green: Looks like asphyxiation.
Briscoe: You mean someone gassed ‘em?
Green: Can’t tell… looks like they might have done it themselves.
Briscoe: You mean, they choked?
Green: Looks that way….
Scene: Precinct Headquarters
Lt. Anita Van Buren: Anything on the Hill District Penguin case?
Briscoe: We have some leads, could be a gang of thugs in red-white and blue colors… similar to a case outta DC, same MO. These guys went right for the head guy, too… some Penguin they call “Crosby.” Took him right out, probably first one to choke. Then we found a really grisly scene around the one they call “Gonchar”… undressed, an athletic supporter lying next to him.
Van Buren: You can say ‘jock’ in here, detective.
Briscoe: Right… well, there was this one Penguin we found over on the bench, curled up, wearing pads and a baseball cap. Whatever they did to him must have been really nasty.
Van Buren: that one have a name?
Briscoe: Fleury… Marc-Andre Fleury.
Scene: One Chatham Center, Pittsburgh, Penguins Administrative Offices
Briscoe: Sir, my name’s Detective Briscoe, and this is Detective Green… we’re investigating a possible multiple homicide last night at Mellon Arena. A number of your Penguins were found dead on the ice. Were there any strange comings and goings around the arena?
Administrative Flunky: Well, we did have a hockey game last night. I hope you’ll understand, folks are pretty upset this morning… we were eliminated last night.
Flunky: I take it you’re not much of a hockey fan, detective.
Green: Lennie, he’s referring to the Penguins. They played the Montreal Canadiens last night… got beat 5-2 to end their season.
Briscoe: Yeah, well, I’m a Yankee fan. And do you think the events are related, sir?
Flunky: Well, I don’t know. Have you talked to the coach?
Briscoe: The coach?
Flunky: Yeah… Dan Bylsma. He was behind the bench last night. He might know.
Scene: Office of Head Coach Dan Bylsma
Briscoe: Coach Bylsma?
Briscoe: I’m Detective Briscoe, and this is Detective Green. We’re investigating a possible homicide at Mellon Arena last night and…
Bylsma: Can this wait? We just had our season end last night, and we’re packing things up for the summer.
Briscoe: I’m afraid not. Sir, you were behind the bench last night. Would you say that there were any strange happenings while you were there?
Bylsma: You could say that. We stunk. Crosby takes a penalty ten seconds into the game. They score 22 seconds later. Then Cooke takes a penalty… puts us behind the eight ball.
Green: And this is unusual behavior?
Bylsma: We’re the Stanley Cup champs! Well, we were until last night. Then we go and play stupid. You’d think they were choking right there on the ice.
Bylsma: Choking, gagging, taking it in the throat. You want me to draw you pictures, detective?
Briscoe: That won’t be necessary. We’ve heard that there were others in the building… a gang wearing red, white, and blue colors. You know anything about that?
Bylsma: The Canadiens.
Briscoe: And they would be…
Bylsma: The other team. The one that beat us.
Briscoe: You mean with a blunt instrument?
Bylsma: Not unless you consider a hockey stick a blunt instrument.
Briscoe: Well actually, we do. But about those…
Briscoe: Canadiens… did you actually see them beat your Penguins?
Bylsma: Like a bunch of whipped dogs. It was ugly. I had to get Fleury out of there. They were all over him.
Green: The one we found over at the bench in the baseball cap.
Briscoe: I see… and do you think these Canadiens had a motive for this beating?
Bylsma: Sure… they want to win the Stanley Cup, just like we did… well, I thought we did, but not the way we played last night.
Briscoe: And these Canadiens, could you tell us where they might be now?
Bylsma: Probably in Montreal getting drunk, waiting to see if they’ll be heading to Boston or Philadelphia.
Scene: Office of the District Attorney
Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy: What do you have for me detectives?
Briscoe: Looks like it’s pointing to a homicide. Right there in the middle of the ice. A gang that calls themselves the “Canadiens” were after this cup…
Green: Stanley Cup
Briscoe: Right… and the Penguins were the bunch that had it. Robbery seems to be the motive. But there seems to be something strange about this.
McCoy: What’s that, detective?
Briscoe: These Canadiens. They’re hardly in hiding. They’ve been all over ESPN this morning and this NHL Network. Not exactly the sort of behavior you would expect of killers.
McCoy: Not exactly. Anything else you’ve been able to turn up?
Briscoe: We did some digging into their backgrounds, and it seems that last night was the seventh time these gangs locked up in the last couple of weeks – in Montreal and in Pittsburgh. No one got killed, but there was a guy who was sliced and another one who tore up his knee. The more we dig into this, the smellier it gets.
McCoy: What do you mean, detective?
Briscoe: We looked at a few of these Penguins. Take this one they call “Malkin”… won an award last year – most valuable Penguin, for all I know…
Green: …he had only one goal and two assists in the first six games. And Gonchar…
Briscoe: He’s the one we found undressed with the jock lying next to him…
Green: A couple of goals in the first six games, but he didn’t get a point last night and was on the ice for three of the first four goals the Canadiens scored. Ponikarovsky – a guy they traded for – no goals in the four games leading up to last night, and he put up another zero last night. Another one… Talbot – a hero last year, unheard from last night. But here is the strangest one. Crosby – he had three points in the last six games of the series, didn’t get any last night, and he was on the ice for three of the first four goals the Canadiens scored and was in the penalty box on the other one.
Briscoe: He’s the only one I heard of… I thought he was supposed to be clutch.
Green: Well, apparently not. Last night was the seventh time he played in an NHL playoff game where his team faced elimination. And after last night, his teams are 3-4 in those seven games, and he has only two goals and four assists in them.
McCoy: Not too clutch, if you ask me, and it sounds as if you don’t have much of a case against these Canadiens for murder. It sounds to me as if these Penguins just choked… Gonchar getting undressed out of his jock… Crosby not delivering in Game 7… Fleury getting yanked to the bench… Malkin, well, who knows what he was doing. No, I don’t think we’re looking at a homicide here, detectives. Not one I could prove in court, at any rate. They did it to themselves.
Briscoe: So you’re just sayin’ they choked? Right there on the ice?
McCoy: You said it, detective, I didn’t (smiles).