What is it about hockey and superstitions? Why do grown men devolve into singleminded obsession when it comes to game day success?
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Do players honestly believe that how they dress, what they eat, who they talk to, or what they read prior to a game will bring them fortune and the glorious gates of Valhalla will open for them?
Stephane Quintal never spoke to anyone after 1:30 PM on the day of a game.
Chris Chelios is the last player in the locker room to put on his jersey.
Bob Gainey always drank a concoction of Coke and Water between periods.
Ron Hextall banged his stick on the goalposts.
Nicklas Backstrom eats at the same restaurant and eats the same dish.
Gretzky always shot his first warmup shot to the right and wide of the net.
But players are not alone in the winsome affectations. Fans follow the trend, wearing the same socks, the same undershirt, driving to a game the same route, eating the same meal. We believe in lucky and unlucky numbers.
We believe, therefore, the whole of us, that life...and in this case, a hockey game, is solely based on chance, disregarding the true nature of cause and effect, erasing the tangibles of talent and effort.
And sometimes it is just plain fun.
It is a connection, a way for fans to feel like they are giving and sacrificing the same as a player is.
Playoff beard aside, it is now time to try something new. The Wild need all the good juju they can muster tonight in bringing the series against Anaheim back to a 1-1 tie. They played well Wednesday night, but just not well enough. Tonight, I plan on providing the bump in supernatural kismet to make a W happen.
For the first time since 2003, I will be donning the white Wild sweater. I don't normally wear it as it is signed by a handful of players, the last of whom was a key piece of the original playoff run, the man who assisted on the shot that killed the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-games-to-1 comeback march:
Perhaps there's enough mystical magic left in those fibers to bring the Ducks down.
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