Superstitions, Traditions and Transitions


Reginald Harrington Esquire III and his 2008 playoff beard

Athletes of any sport have been known to carry odd superstitions throughout their careers.  From gross to sensible, almost every play has a motive.  While living with Mario, Mrs. Lemieux would often cook Sid the same meal night after night if it meant he'd play at his peak performance.  Some goalies dress from left to right, forwards dress from top to bottom - the combinations seem rather endless.

Perhaps one of the most notorious traditions, particular to hockey and even to a degree basketball, is the infamous playoff beard.  Wikipedia has a pretty good entry on it, claiming the tradition started in the 80s with the New York Islanders.  If the team knew any better now, they'd come up with something new in the 2000s.  

While most of the guys on the Pens squad make some pretty lackluster attempts at growing out a full beard, fans really can't hold it against them.  After all, they're only 19/20/21 years old.  I think I can honestly say, as dirty as it looks, Sid's attempts are pretty solid considering what I could've mustered up when I was 21.  

Just because you're not a player doesn't mean you can't have some superstitions or traditions of your own.  Do you have any quirks?  Do you have any routines?  Comment and let me know, I'd really like to see what others do.

I for one, motivated through the desire for comfort, always sit in the same seat.  If someone else is there before the puck drops it's pretty much understood that you get up and make way for me.  Earlier in the season I used to try and invoke the spirits of Malkin/Gonchar by drinking Red East, a beer from the frozen grounds of the Mother Land.  This was both delicious and entertaining, yet pretty costly ($3.25 per bottle).  

So now my family and I have resorted to the "Good luck puck."  This small specimen of culinary ingenuity is literally a piece of chocolate in the shape of a hockey puck.  It's specifically marketed by the NHL, so you know it's the real deal.  Before every game the family tradition is that someone take a bite of the puck, but not a CHUNK.  It's more like a nibble because, after all, this has to last us till the finals.  For the sake of not sounding disgusting let me just clarify - this tradition started when the Pens played the Sens.  This is not, by any means, a 7-month-old piece of chocolate.  

Luckily there is still plenty left for the Finals.

Finally let me just say that tomorrow is the official launch of an ALL NEW PENSBURGH SITE.  The point of the change is because I, and every other member of the SBNation Community, believe in integrating our readers more into the chemistry of the site.  You'll be able to manage your own fan shots, blogs and polls.  You won't have to hit refresh during game threads or comments either.  The goal is to make Pensburgh.com an all-in-one location for everything Penguins related.  I'm hoping you'll be impressed, as I'm pretty stoked about the switch.  If you want an idea of what the new Pensburgh will look like, visit one of our baseball sites at Buc's Dugout.

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