Hockey players can be a superstitious lot. Many players will wear the same T-shirt, socks or even underwear long past their expiry date, all in the name of luck. Others need to put on their equipment in exactly the same order every time. Some guys will find a lucky stick and use it until it literally falls apart.
Players will do almost anything if they believe it will give them an advantage, even if it goes beyond any rational reasoning. Some need to be the first or last player on/off the ice. Others will tap the goalies pads a certain way or number of times after the warm up.
Don’t ever let sticks get crossed in the dressing room, that’s a bad omen and you’ll lose the game for sure. During winning streaks, nothing gets changed, no matter how smelly, gross or weird it gets. Let’s not even get into the whole playoff beard thing.
For some players, wearing a certain number means everything. Somehow they’re convinced that they play better when they wear a particular number. Players have been known to even buy their “lucky” number when traded to another team and their number is already taken. It is a very big deal to some players.
Of course there will always be players that scoff at superstition. You never used to see the number 13 on the ice. Some current NHL players who wear number 13 include: Mats Sundin, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Cammalleri, Ray Whitney, Bill Guerin, Slava Kozlov, Nik Zherdev and Dan Carcillo.
Even teams can get into the act. It seemed that whenever Kate Smith sang before the big game, the Philadelphia Flyers would win. Live or recorded, it didn’t seem to matter. Now, whenever there is an important game, you will hear Kate Smith belting out God Bless America.
As fans of hockey, we know that you never utter the word “shut-out” during a hockey game, especially in the third period. You won’t hear a hockey broadcaster say the “S” word on television after two periods of a game if there’s a zero on the scoreboard. It’s just an unwritten rule.
Anyone remember the Sports Illustrated (SI) Cover Curse? There was so much written about the curse that SI investigated and discovered that 37% of the cover personalities suffered what could be considered a jinx.
Sports fans know no boundaries when it comes to taking responsibility for their favourite player or team’s performance. I have a friend who almost never watches his favourite team play for fear of jinxing them. It seems that one day he was changing channels between games and it seemed that whenever he flipped back to watch his team, they were scored upon. It only took a couple of times before it became a superstition. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, it’s just the way the Leafs are, it’s not his fault.
Fantasy hockey players often believe that they are somehow responsible for how badly their players are doing. You will often hear things like; “(insert your player here) is playing like crap this year because I drafted him”. This doesn’t seem to work in reverse though. You never hear “Kovalchuk is playing great because I drafted him this year”. Sometimes we even take credit for a player’s injury. “I drafted (previously Indestructible Player) so that means he’s probably going to get hurt this year”. How many of you out there think you are responsible for Semin or Bieksa’s injuries this season?
Is it just coincidence that this year is the first year you were able to grab Kiprusoff, Cheechoo, Marleau, Afinogenov, etc. in your pool and they totally suck so far this year? Maybe you can do us all a favour and drop or trade those guys, so the rest of us who own them can enjoy the remainder of the season.
Have you ever thought about trying to contact a player to apologize for drafting him? If so, seek help. I think it’s just harmless fun to believe that we have any ability to influence the performance of a player by drafting him for our fantasy squad or changing the outcome of a game just by watching from the comfort of our own homes.
Comment on superstitions in Russ Miller's blog area here…
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