May 19, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby (87) in the first period in game three of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Hockey: Rituals Rule

Pre-game rituals are common in every sport. But you could write a book about the idiosyncrasies and superstitions of hockey players.

And sometimes the greater the player, the weirder the rituals. Take Sidney Crosby, for example. Apparently he won’t call his mother on game day because he was injured on three occasions when he did; when his sticks are finally taped up for the game, no one can touch them or pretend that they’re going to touch them; when the Penguins are traveling by bus, if they have to cross railroad tracks, Sid the Kid has to lift up his feet and touch glass. Finally, when he’s playing on the road, he’ll only tape his sticks with tape provided by the home team.

The NHL disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, when he played for the Detroit Red Wings, would only wear the shoulder pads that he used in junior hockey and included the music of Madonna in his pre-game preparation.

Remember The Great One? Wayne Gretzky would never get a haircut on the road, always put his equipment on in a certain order, and he’d never forget to put baby powder on the blade of his stick, among other things.

I would appreciate it if you would drop me a note and let me know if you’ve heard of any rituals used by the players that you follow.

OK, I need to put one sock on now, take it off, put it on again, do the same for the other sock, and then get dressed. Have a great rest of the week.

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Tags: Brendan Shanahan Sidney Crosby Wayne Gretzky

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