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Couple United by Hockey, Divided by Stanley Cup

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Couple United by Hockey, Divided by Stanley Cup


Couple United by Hockey, Divided by Stanley Cup

Couple United by Hockey, Divided by Stanley Cup

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Stanley Cup Finals are underway, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins. But the match-up is a bone of contention for one couple in Chicago, Red Wing fanatic Carly Colenso and die-hard Penguin Joe Ott.


Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Detroit Red Wings in game three of hockey's best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals. Getting all the way to the finals, OK, that's pretty tough, almost as hard for the fans as it is for the teams. Since the...


I'm going to disagree with that.

MARTIN: You are?

PESCA: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: But still, I know what you mean.

MARTIN: Since the NHL playoffs started seven weeks ago, the Penguins and Red Wings have played a combined total of 32 games. OK, but imagine if you life in a two-team household. You have one preference, your spouse has another, cheering for different teams. And if those teams are the Penguins and the Red Wings, it's...

PESCA: Oh, yeah, collision course.

MARTIN: Not only a collision course, a major time commitment. That's the case at the Chicago home of Carly Colenso and Joe Ott. They may be joined in marriage but they're not together on everything. Carly was born in Traverse City, Michigan, raised a Red Wings' fan. Joe is a Penguins' fan from Pittsburgh. We thought we'd check in, see how their marriage is holding up, as their teams duke it out for the big prize. Are you guys headed to divorce court yet? Or is that maybe a little overstatement?

Ms. CARLY COLENSO (Fan, Detroit Red Wings): Probably a little overstatement.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Thanks for...

Ms. COLENSO: But there's been some tenuous moments in our household.

MARTIN: So let's start. Carly and Joe, thanks for being with us. Carly, 32 games in the last 49 days. Describe what the tone has been like in your apartment through these playoffs.

Ms. COLENSO: It's been overwhelming. It's a time commitment. It's been just hockey mania in our apartment. And we were rooting for each other's teams up until this point, so, it's been pretty fun, actually.

MARTIN: Have you watched every game?

Ms. COLENSO: I would say we've missed a few games, but we've watched the majority of the games.

MARTIN: And Joe, your Penguins are down now two-and-oh in the series, as...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JOE OTT (Fan, Pittsburgh Penguins): Yeah, yeah.

MARTIN: I'm sorry, I don't want to - I'm not tell you anything you don't know, I'm sure.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: How is - is Carly generous in this respect, or does she push your buttons a little bit on this?

Mr. OTT: Well, she's been a big Pens fan up 'til game one of the Stanley Cup finals, and I'm getting a lot of, where are your two big stars at? They haven't scored a goal yet, and quit taking cheap shots.


PESCA: So she's like, where's your Sidney Crosby now, Joe?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OTT: Pretty much word for word.

PESCA: I've been hearing about Sidney Crosby. So listen, who's the least - each of you, give me the most hated player on the other one's team.

MARTIN: Who do you hate, Carly?

Ms. COLENSO: Who was the guy that keeps hitting - there's multiples. Whoever hits...

Mr. OTT: Ah, Gary Roberts.

Ms. COLENSO: Johan on the head is who I hate.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: And Joe, what...

Mr. OTT: Carly hates Gary Roberts.

PESCA: Which Red Wing do you hate?

Mr. OTT: Um, it's a tough call. I don't know, whichever one is scoring the goals.

PESCA: Carly, do you take that as a personal affront?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. COLENSO: I take it as he still loves the Red Wings. He hasn't gotten that out of his system yet.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Oh, I see.

MARTIN: Wow. Now, Carly, this goes a long way in your family, right? You're from northern Michigan, Traverse City. And your dad used to drive the Zamboni machine at the ice rink, right?

Ms. COLENSO: Yeah, yeah, he drove the Zamboni for a number of years.

MARTIN: So ice is in your blood. Hockey is in your blood. How big of a deal are the Red Wings up there?

Ms. COLENSO: It's a big deal. And actually, Traverse City is where the Red Wings training camp is every fall, so it's sort of Hockey Town North, they call it.

MARTIN: And Joe, you still have a lot of friends in Pittsburgh. How psyched are people there right now?

Mr. OTT: Yeah, it's Hockey Town. I mean, Pittsburgh...

Ms. COLENSO: No it's not.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OTT: Pittsburgh is a big football town, but right now, everyone is all about the Penguins.

MARTIN: And what happens, Joe, if Pittsburgh wins? What's going to go down in your household?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OTT: I don't know. I've had this little nagging idea in the back of my head that I might be better off if Detroit won.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I think that might be smart.

PESCA: That's sort of the equivalent of, all right, we'll have Thanksgiving with your folks this year, Carly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: And Carly...

Ms. COLENSO: Yeah, he can have football and I'll take hockey.

PESCA: Oh, that's generous of you, considering the Lions are your team, Carly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OTT: Yeah, I don't have to worry about the Lions beating the Steelers.

PESCA: Are there any other teams that you guys root for that actually have a chance of beating each other, like in college football or anything like that?

Ms. COLENSO: Mm, you know, that's probably what made our marriage work so far, is that we were pretty unconflicted (ph) in our sports teams up to this point. We didn't even think that this was going to happen with the Red Wings and the Penguins. So, I guess Penn State and Michigan, maybe, but they haven't really been playing each other, like, too hard lately.

PESCA: Yeah. And is he allowed any Pittsburgh Penguin paraphernalia in the house?

Mr. OTT: She doesn't mind if I hang my Pittsburgh - wear my Pittsburgh shirt for the game, but I haven't put a flag out the front door or anything like that.

Ms. COLENSO: I don't think I would let that happen.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: And Joe, do you worry about waking up with an octopus in the bed next to you?

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: And I don't mean Carly feeling amorous. I mean, the Red Wing tradition of throwing an octopus on the ice. It'd be like that scene in "The Godfather."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OTT: I always keep one eye out, looking for the octopus coming.

PESCA: One eye for eight arms, I don't know if that's a good ratio.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Well, we wish you guys the best of luck as you navigate these difficult waters ahead in your relationship. Joe Ott and Carly Colenso, husband and wife, Penguins fan and Red Wings fan. May the best spouse win. Thanks, you guys.

Ms. COLENSO: Thank you.

Mr. OTT: Thank you.

MARTIN: Have fun.

Mr. OTT: Bye.

Ms. COLENSO: Go Red Wings!

Mr. OTT: Go Pens!

(Soundbite of laughter)

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