Across the SB Nation NHL network this week, NBC Sports is sponsoring a series about playoff hockey and superstitions. Here's our contribution...
Superstitions are a funny thing. Whether or not they work might not be important, it's about whether or not you THINK it works. Superstitions are what we fall back on, it's what is familiar and a little bastion of control that we have on events that we don't have control on.No one is as famously as superstitious on the Pens as the captain. Starting with wearing #87 for being born on August 7th (8/7) 1987, Crosby's "habits" stretch from on from there. He famously wears 1 sweat stained hat per season after every practice and game for media interviews. There's his infamous equipment- the shoulder pads and jock that's been with him for many, many years. His pre-game meals never waiver. When it comes to superstitions, the only limit is time really.
"How much time do you have? I don’t know,” Crosby said of his habits.
“Well, I noticed he kind of walks around the one garbage can in the dressing room, the same one all the time,” said Brandon Sutter.“I don’t know why, I just like to have my stick by my stall,” said Crosby. ‘I just like to keep my sticks by my bench and that’s probably a different one than most guys.”
And of course Crosby has a certain way to handle his sticks off the ice, and the way he tapes them and the process he goes through to get his skates ready. Here's a tip, the next time you're at a Penguins game, watch the pregame warmup. The jumbotron will have a countdown to the end of warmup, no big deal right? Watch what happens as the time ticks down to 5:00 when Crosby will always make his way to center ice and re-tie his skates (starting with right one first, naturally). It always happens.
Then there's the facial hair. Crosby's not a very adept grower (to be kind) but during a 25 game point streak in November/December 2010, a crusty mustache appeared on the Captain's face. This may have had roots in the men's health display of growing mustaches in November, a practice several players do, but as the team's winning and Crosby's point streak went on, so did the Sid'stache. And it remained until finally the point streak was broken. The next night, Crosby's face was (mercifully) clean again.
When it comes to superstitions, the Pens captain goes as all out as he does on the ice. And, although he's been unlucky with injuries, he hasn't been with producing points, so maybe we all ought to look into our own little routines and habits a little further.