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Palin drops puck to boos, cheers

From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
PHILADELPHIA -- A healthy mix of boos and cheers greeted Palin last night as she dropped the ceremonial first puck for the Philadelphia Flyers season -- with an assist from her youngest daughter.

For days, blogs and Web sites had suggested Palin's appearance would be met mostly with jeers. But Palin received a mixed reaction as she joined the winner of the team's "Ultimate Hockey Mom" contest, Cathy O'Connell from Erdenheim, Pa.

Perhaps it was Palin's youngest daughter, Piper, who emerged with her in a Flyers jersey, which helped mollify the crowd. The Alaska governor had even foreshadowed the tactic earlier in the day.

"I've been warned that Flyers fans, they get so enthused, that they boo everybody at the drop of the puck," she said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Saturday afternoon. "But what I thought I'd do is I'd put Piper in a Flyers jersey, bring her out with me. How dare they boo Piper!"

Palin stepped from the team tunnel and out onto a black carpet with Piper and middle daughter Willow and walked across center ice. Some fans clapped, while others booed or held their thumbs pointed down. She shook hands with O'Connell and Flyers captain Mike Richards, and gave a kiss to Rangers assistant captain Scotty Gomez, a native Alaskan.

Palin knelt down, posed for photos with the players and O'Connell and dropped the puck with her simultaneously. She then shook the players' hands again and walked off into the tunnel.

Palin watched part of the game in a skybox and also gave interviews to Comcast SportsNet and ESPN.