It was June 8, 2002.
I was 14-years-old and laying on the couch watching game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals with my parents. The Red Wings were losing to the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. I remember being frustrated with the game and the Wings couldn't score. Being the superstitious person I am, I tried drinking different beverages, eating different food, changing jerseys, and nothing worked.
With nothing else working, I decided to take a seat on the floor hugging my knees with the corner of the couch jabbing into my back (I don't know why), but it worked. Shortly after I switched seats, Brett Hull scored with 1:14 remaining in the game to send it to OT. I stayed in that position without moving until Igor Larionov scored in triple overtime. I sat in that same position for Games 4 and 5 and the rest was history.
Did the way I sat and where I sat while watching the game have any real impact on the outcome? Probably not. But hey, I'm a hockey fan and we're a different breed. We love and care about our sport more than any other fan base. And for Wings fans, that passion runs 10-times deeper. I no longer live at home and won't be sitting on the floor this postseason, but I will growing my first ever playoff beard (...or attempting to).
What kind of superstitions are found around the league and inside the Red Wings lockerroom?
Find out after the jump.
Surfing around the net, I found an article from The Hockey News and their Top 10 hockey superstitions.
10. Tape two
As the most important instrument in all of hockeydom, the stick has been doctored and babied for decades. With the coming of composite sticks, the doctoring has slowed. But players still insist on taping their sticks in a specific manner.
9. The cookie toss
Glenn Hall is one of the NHL’s all-time greatest goalies; 502 consecutive games in an era before goalie masks were the norm, three Vezina Trophies, 407 wins. But Hall vomited before every game and believed he’d lose if didn’t.
8. The march
On every team, there’s an order to which players leave the dressing room for the ice; whether it’s the captain first, the starting goalie last or a veteran tapping each player with his stick, it happens the same way every game.
7. Gearing up
Every player has his own rhyme and reason for the seemingly random practice. Do it just so or start all over.
6. One final stop
The legendary Ken Dryden would never leave the net during warmup until he had made one final save. But playing for the powerhouse Canadiens in the 1970s meant that was not always easy. Larry Robinson picked up on it and took to making sure Dryden had an easy one to stop if the goalie was having problems. But Dryden figured Robinson out and began to work even harder to make that final save before Robinson lobbed an easy one his way.
5. OK, but it’ll cost you a buck
At the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, Canada won men’s hockey gold for the first time since 1952. And at center ice was buried a Canadian one-dollar coin. Burying a ‘loonie’ at center ice for international competitions has since become a superstition, albeit one other countries are not overly enthralled with.
4. The tobacco toss
In no way are we advocating smoking – not that you could now in most arenas anyway – but there were few more masculine-looking superstitions than Stan Mikita tossing his cigarette over his left shoulder as he exited the tunnel for the ice at the old Chicago Stadium.
3. Conversing with iron
Goalies are weird. Period. And Patrick Roy is one of the weirdest in recent memory. He had a number of superstitions, including carrying on running conversations with every goalie’s best on-ice friends, the goal posts.
2. Grow baby, grow
It’s believed the Islanders began the playoff beard superstition during their Stanley Cup run in the 1980s. It worked, too. They won four Cups in four years, the last in 1983.
1. Don’t touch that
There’s only one trophy teams want. And to touch another en route to the Cup is anathema until (gasp!) this year. We’ll know soon if this superstition is proven false.
For some more Wing-centric superstitions, check out Jiri Hudler, who changes his skate laces before every game.
With one game down and 15 to go, what are your superstitions? Will you eat the same food? Get dressed the same way? Do you have a certain jersey you always wear? Let us know what your superstitions are.
I plan to take a photo a day of my playoff beard and document the process. I'll warn you now...it won't be pretty.
Let's Go Red Wings.