2012 NHL Playoffs: The 15 Greatest Playoff Hockey Superstitions

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIApril 19, 2012

2012 NHL Playoffs: The 15 Greatest Playoff Hockey Superstitions

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    Whether you consume the same pre-game meal, listen to a specific playlist or song or even sacrifice your good looks by growing the world-famous playoff beard, everyone in playoff hockey takes part in specific tradition or rituals to give themselves the proper luck needed to hoist the Stanley Cup. 

    And it's not just the players that get in on the action. Some fans feel the team has a better chance when they aren't watching, so they will force themselves not to watch.

    Whatever your hilarious ritual entails, here are the 15 greatest playoff hockey superstitions of all-time. 

Honorable Mention: Red Goupille

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    I'm sure you've never heard of former Canadien Red Goupille, as he played before World War II, but the dude was extremely superstitious. 

    Goupille would leave a bottle of Coke in his street shoes while he was out on the ice, as he believed it would grant him the ability to score goals.

    Unfortunately, my man only scored 12 goals between 1935 and 1943, certainly earning an "A" for effort. During that eight-year stretch, the famed Montreal Canadiens never won a Stanley Cup. 

Ray Bourque's Laces

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    Legend has it that former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque would change his skate laces during every intermission and never use those laces again.

    Seeing as how Bourque played in 1,826 games in the NHL, that means he used 10,956 sets of laces. 

    Someone at Greenpeace must be losing their mind.     


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    A Los Angeles radio DJ believed his butt was lucky enough to help the Kings win their 1989 playoff series over the Edmonton Oilers, so he sat bare-bottomed on the ice to help encourage LA to a come-from-behind series win.

    A year earlier, that same DJ sat bare-bottomed on the pitcher's mound in Dodger Stadium to help the LA Dodgers capture the 1988 World Series. 

    As of now, the Kings do not have many playoff worries, but in case they run into some, they should definitely give this guy a call.  


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    The tradition was born to former Original Six goalie Glenn Hall, who won 407 pre-goalie mask era games and three Veznia Trophies, all credited to his pre-game vomiting.

    Some players admitted to vomiting because of nerves, while others simply said it made them feel better. 

    I'm sure Gatorade would come up with some clever counter advertisement if this went on today. 

Sid the Kid

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    Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has far too many superstitions.

    Once he has taped up his sticks before the game, no one can touch them at all. If someone even comes close as breaking King Crosby's rules, Crosby will remove the tape and re-tape the stick. He will lift his feet and touch the glass if they have to cross railroad tracks on bus trips. He refuses to call his mother on a game day because the last three times he did, he got injured. Finally, he will only use tape supplied by the home team for his sticks when he is on the road.

    It doesn't matter how crazy this makes No. 87 look; he lets his game speak for itself. 

The Greatest Beverages

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    Gretzky would finish every single pre-game warm up by downing four specific drinks: Diet Coke, ice water, Gatorade and a second Diet Coke.

    Oh, so that's why he holds 15 NHL playoffs records (and 40 regular season records).

Kate Smith Leads the Philly Phanatics

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    When Kate Smith (or the video of the late singer is played) sings God Bless America, the Flyers are an incredible 87-23-4. The video was even shown at Citizens Bank Park during the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. 

    As the Flyers are rolling all over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, there are sure to be plenty more Kate Smith video plays over the next month. 

Ken Dryden's Final Save

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    Legendary goaltender Ken Dryden finished every warm up making one final save to end on a good note. I love the positivity, and with the Hall-of-Fame numbers he posted I'd say this superstition was successful.  

Conference Curse

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    The legend holds that the winner of their respective Conference is not to touch the trophy awarded (Prince of Wales: Eastern Conference; Campbell Bowl: Western Conference).

    This age-old tradition is one of the wackiest superstitions, as there is no evidence to prove whether it's true or not. 

    Last year, neither the Bruins or Canucks touched their respective conference champion trophy. However, some Philly fanatics blame their failed Stanley Cup run in 2010 on Mike Richards and his hoisting of the hardware because their opponent, Jonathan Toews, failed to grab the Campbell Bowl and led the Hawks to their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

    Conversely, Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby grabbed the trophy in 2009 and still led the team to win the 2009 Stanley Cup, proving it's nothing but a negative mindset.  

    I'd like to see more captains grab the trophy like Stevie Y (pictured) as a sign of nothing but pure confidence going into the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Game Entrance

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    Every hockey club has a predetermined entrance to the game.

    Whether it's something similar to San Jose or Nashville bursting out of large constructed animals or Evgeni Malkin making Sidney Crosby enter before him, it's a strict superstition carried throughout the playoffs and the beautiful game of hockey. 

Homage to the Good Sticks

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    Danny Briere is a proven playoff hero in Philadelphia, something he credits to his "good" hockey sticks. 

    In between games, Danny B rotates between three sticks. When he has a good game with a certain stick, he “rewards” it with a day off.

Stan the Man

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    Stan Mikita used to smoke a cigarette during the game intermission and toss the butt over his left shoulder before returning to the ice. 

    I wonder if his favorite baseball player is Tim Lincecum?  

Friendly Conversation

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    Patrick Roy is regarded as one of the best goalies to ever play in the NHL. His secret? A little friendly conversation with the goal posts, aka "the goalie's best friend."

    The three-time Vezina Trophy winner won over 150 playoff games throughout his career with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, including two Stanley Cups for each club.   

Kyle McLaren's Tint Ticket

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    No, that's not Photoshop—former San Jose Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren actually wore a yellow visor for the majority of his career. 

    It originated as a prank, as McLaren's teammates changed his visor to yellow because he's legitimately color blind and would have no way of finding out.

    That night, McLaren scored the game-winning goal and kept the yellow tint until he felt a visor change would bring the slumping Sharks some good luck.

    The Sharks marketing team even released yellow sunglasses as a promotion for a short stint. 

The 1975 Islanders and Their Deficit Plan

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    In the 1975 NHL playoffs, the New York Islanders trailed the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins three games to none and incredibly came back to win the best-of-seven series. I'm sure the '75 squad has their fair share of great campfire tales, but none is better than the infamous bag of elephant dump.  

    A bag of elephant dump was found in the locker room during the first series against the New York Rangers, which apparently was given to an Islander as a gift from one of the circus members that previously used the visitor's locker room at Madison Square Garden.

    The team believed it brought them luck, so they kept it around and were the only team to successfully come back in a series down three games to none until the 2010 playoffs. 

The World Renowned Playoff Beard

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    Of all the hilarious and/or ridiculous playoff superstitions, none is more famous than the playoff beard. 

    It's believed that the playoff beard originated in the 1980's in which players refused to shave or even trim their facial hair until their team was knocked out of the playoffs. 

    Now, this phenomenon has seeped through to athletes in all sports, especially the NFL

    Refer to the 25 greatest playoff beards of all-time for more information.