Image Credit: Everett CollectionTonight, the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks face-off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals (NBC, 8 p.m. ET). Last month, hockey’s Holy Grail visited the EW offices, along with one of its four keepers, Mike Bolt, who’s become part guardian/part storyteller. Ever since the ’94 New York Rangers returned Lord Stanley in three pieces, the Cup has had a constant chaperone. Each player, coach, and trainer on the winning team gets to spend at least one day with it doing whatever he can talk Bolt, its companion of 11 years, into. (He’s declined a request for parachuting, but in 2001, sanctioned Scott Parker strapping Stanley into a specially-designed harness for a ride on his Harley, and in 2007, agreed to hand it out of a hovering helicopter to brothers Scott and Rob Niedermayer, who wanted to celebrate by raising the Cup over their heads on a mountain top — something similar to what Scott had done in 2000.)

Bolt is also present when Stanley stops by a TV set to film a guest appearance or snap a picture. The Cup has had “roles” on Boston Legal and Guiding Light;it’s been photographed getting serenaded by Charlie Sheen while sitting atop his Two and Half Men piano, waiting patiently in Hugh Laurie’s House office as he pretended to use his cane as a hockey stick, and being interrogated by CSI:NY‘s Eddie Cahill. Here, 10 stories guaranteed to entertain, whether you’re already a hockey fan or not.

The Cup makes a bathroom run with Chris Chelios, John Cusack, and Eddie Vedder in 2008: “We’re in Chicago goin’ to a Cubs game with Chris Chelios. Eddie Vedder and John Cusack are with us. Chelios threw out the opening pitch, and Eddie Vedder was the catcher. Thank god Chris can play hockey because he can’t throw. That’s right, I said that, Chelios, YOU CAN’T THROW. So it’s his day, we’re in this big limo bus, but there’s no washroom on it. We’re headed to the Sox game next, and the guys had a few, and we need to stop. There’s these kids playin’ catch outside this house. I’m like, he’s gonna show the kids the Cup, how nice. He gets off the bus. They’re like, ‘Ohmygod, Chris Chelios!’ He’s like, ‘Hey, I’ll make you a deal. Mike, grab the Cup.’ They’re like ‘Holy crap, it’s the Cup! Holy crap!’ He goes, ‘I’ll let you guys get a picture if I can use your washroom.’ They’re like, ‘Sure, come on in.’ So everybody pours off the bus, and we’re goin’ in this house. Well, they’re havin’ a baseball party in this house, at least 20-25 people in there. So he puts the Cup down. The entourage runs to the bathroom, the people in the house are runnin’ to the Cup takin’ pictures. We’ve been in there 20 minutes, and finally, this lady says, ‘Holy crap! You’re John Cusack!’ We’ve been in there for 20 minutes. We get on the bus, and John goes, ‘You know, I just love the Stanley Cup. I wish I could bring it everywhere with me. What a distraction. Eddie and I were talkin’ about that. We’re walkin’ around the concourse at Wrigley Field, and nobody’s recognizing us and it’s great. We’re just there 10 feet behind and all eyes are on Lord Stanley.’ Later that night, Eddie Vedder was doin’ a solo show in Chicago. So we went to the concert, and we’re backstage, and as we walk into the greenroom, we run into Sean Penn, who’s a big fan of Eddie Vedder’s. We go up to the balcony area, and it’s John Cusack, Sean Penn, Lord Stanley, myself and Chris Chelios sittin’ watchin’ Eddie Vedder play. That day didn’t suck.”

The Cup Visits George W. Bush in the White House in 2003: “We were there with New Jersey in the Rose Garden. I remember I was there early. I have it all set up, so I’ve got time to kill just sittin’ in the Rose Garden. I see the president’s dogs come out. I was like, I like dogs. I’m gonna go play with them. So I’m throwin’ the tennis ball around. All of the sudden, the Secret Service guys are like, ‘Mike! Mike! Mike!’ I almost crapped in my pants, I was so scared. What have I done? I’m just playin’ with a dog for cryin’ out loud. ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’ ‘Relax, Mike, relax. Can you do me a favor and go play with the dogs over there?’ ‘Sorry, sorry.’ ‘Look behind you.’ I look behind me, and maybe about 30, 40 feet away is the Oval Office, and there’s Cheney and Bush having a meeting. Cheney’s got this scowl on his face, and Bush gives me a little one of these [nod and a finger gun]. Later that day, when they had the team come in, Colin White was missing a tooth, typical hockey player. Bush comes in, he was doin’ a speech and talkin’ to the guys. ‘Come here, Colin. I gotta get a picture with you.’ It ended up being in the papers all over Canada. Then he goes, ‘I just want to thank you guys for comin’ to the White House. Congratulations. I gotta get goin’ back to work.’ He starts walkin’ away, then he goes, ‘Hey, you guys wanna see the Oval Office?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Grab your wives, too.’ Secret Service was like Holy s—. We’re in the Oval Office, and he’s showin’ us stuff, like I do with the Cup. He’s all proud of it, which is great. I don’t want to get into politics, but he’s a really, really nice man. Finally, they go, ‘All right, the president needs to get back to work. Let’s go. Everybody out.’ It was impromptu, and that’s why the Secret Service weren’t ready for this. You’re on top of the president, literally.”

The Cup makes its acting debut on Guiding Light in 2006:Guiding Light invited the Stanley Cup to be on the set, and they wrote it into the storyline. We had to walk away we were laughin’ so hard. They were makin’ fun of themselves, treatin’ Stanley like he was a person. He didn’t talk, but he moved. A character is out having dinner, and she’s oglin’ Stanley, and a guy comes in and catches her cheatin’ with Stanley. It was very funny.”

The Cup acts opposite Emmy winners William Shatner and James Spader in 2007: “It was on Boston Legal. They always have that cigar and Scotch at the end, and they were pretendin’ to drink Scotch out of it. They want to engrave their name, and they put it on the ledge and knock it off. Everyone’s always amazed it was the real one. Again, it’s TV. There were all these mattresses. Someone grabbed it to make sure it didn’t bounce.”

The Cup has lunch with Kurt Russell in 2006: “We did a photo shoot. It was like Kurt was havin’ lunch with Stanley and talking hockey. You can tell the guy is such a good actor, he was really actually having a conversation with the Cup. It was pretty funny. And then he goes, ‘Ah, it would be great if we could have the Cup have arms.’ I’m like, ‘Well, I can put my white gloves on.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, put a beer in one hand, the bill in the other.’ So I’m underneath the table doing this, basically have my head in his lap. I go, ‘Kurt this doesn’t look very good.’ He’s go, ‘This is Hollywood. You’ll fit in fine.'”

The Cup has dinner with Susan Sarandon in 2006: “The NHL invited her and her kids out to dinner with Stanley. He pulls up a chair. He has a cocktail or two. Didn’t eat much. It’s the playoffs, he’s gotta look good. We just talked hockey the whole night with Susan. I came in through a side door, and we walked by Mark Wahlberg.” [Seeing his reaction, an NHL publicist invited him to meet Stanley and take a photo. The actor will be a presenter at this year’s NHL Awards on June 23 in Las Vegas.]

The Cup is used by Amy Poehler and Jason Bateman to taunt Will Arnett in 2004: “Will Arnett is a massive hockey fan. Even though he’s seen it a few times, he still loves lookin’ at the Cup and bein’ around it. The Cup was over at NBC [to meet Elisha Cuthbert, who was doing Last Call with Carson Daly]. Jason Bateman was there to do Last Call, and Amy Poehler was still on SNL, and so they were together with the Cup and Will Arnett wasn’t there. He was on location somewhere. They’re calling him, just harassing him. They were takin’ pictures of each other with the Cup and then sendin’ it to him. He was so devastated.”

The Cup surprises Michael Bublé in 2008: “The storyline for Michael was that some German radio station was giving him an award, and this was like 15 minutes before he goes on stage. So they knock on the door. ‘Hey, are you ready to do this?’ ‘Yeah, yeah come on in.’ And in I walk. He just lit up like a 9-year-old kid at Christmas. I think we screwed up his entire concentration. They’re like, ‘Michael, five more minutes.’ He goes. ‘Five more minutes? I need more time than that. I don’t want to let the Cup go.’ He plays himself. The backstage passes were photos of Michael playing hockey.”

The Cup’s beach party is crashed by Oscar winners in 2008: “One of my favorite times ever: Chris Chelios always seems to know everybody, and his parties are no exception. He had it July 4th in Malibu. Ray Liotta came by, Cuba Gooding Jr., who is a hockey nut — a borderline face painter, and I mean that in the nicest way. The guy just loves the game. Kid Rock played Chris’ party for 150 of his closest friends on the beach. We had one particular celebrity apparently walk a mile and a half down the beach just to have a look at the Cup – a guy by the name of Tom Hanks. It was neat to see the reaction Tom had. Like a fan meeting Tom, he got excited. He goes, ‘Word was traveling down the beach, and I just decided to go for a walk and check it out myself.’ The other celebrity that popped in on us that day was Sylvester Stallone. Chris and I did the voice. He was a great guy. Again, just kind of impressed to see the Cup. Earlier that day, we had brunch and ran into Rob Reiner. He kinda walked by and nods at Chris. And then five minutes later, he came back into the place and asked if he could get a picture with Chris and the Cup.”

The Cup isn’t raised by Denis Leary: “They once played a game here in New York against some of his friends that was being filmed for NHL Productions. They were playing for the Cup was the idea, and he wanted to lift it over his head, but I go, ‘No, you can’t.’ [Rule: You’ve got to really win the Stanley Cup to hoist it.] You sure as hell would have thought he really played for it the way he was cursin’ up and down his bench, yellin’ at his boys, just screamin’. Pat LaFontaine, who’s good friends with him and a Hall of Fame NHL player, they get together. They both have great backyard rinks. I’ve never been to Denis’ place, but apparently, Denis has a whole dressing room that’s all heated with a stove, and a Zamboni made from John Deere that he rides around in. They get together and Pat goes, ‘It sometimes gets a little emotional out there.'”