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NHL.com: New draft class has its share of quirks

Wednesday, 08.13.2008 / 11:55 AM CT / Features
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NHL.com: New draft class has its share of quirks

Like many other members of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft class, Chet Pickard has his share of superstitions.
The NHL has its fair share of superstitious players, and the first round of the 2008 Entry Draft is going to provide the League with another generation of quirkiness.

From talking to the goal posts to listening to the same songs prior to a pre-game nap, there is no shortage of lucky charms and routines players use.

Kyle Beach, selected No. 11 in this year’s draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, has a few superstitions, but he tries to avoid having too many. 

"I definitely have a couple superstitions, I like to tie my skates the same way and I like to tape my socks and tape my stick the same way, but I try to avoid the superstitions as I think they just get in the way," said Beach. "I definitely have a couple and I stick by them but I try not to get into too many of them."

Zach Bogosian, selected No. 3 by the Atlanta Thrashers, has limited superstitions, but is very particular about his sticks. Bogosian, an offensive defenseman that could step into that Thrashers lineup as early as this season, often removes the tape from his stick.

"I usually work on my sticks," Bogosian said. "I'm pretty serious about my sticks. If someone touches them, I have to untape them and put them back. I usually freak out if anyone touches them, but that's pretty much my only thing."

There are players unlike Bogosian or Beach who maximize their superstitions, and Steven Stamkos, drafted No. 1 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, is one of them. Stamkos tries all sorts of things when it comes to lucky charms, such as changing the color of the tape he uses to tape his stick or bleaching his hair.

"I'm a pretty superstitious guy when it comes to how the team is doing or how I'm doing," Stamkos said. "I take a pre-game nap and listen to the same two songs on my iPod before my nap and before every game. That's something I've been doing since I came to the OHL. I can remember this year, our team had lost four or five games in a row, so a couple of us bleached our hair just to change up our luck, and we went on a four-game winning streak. So just little things like that, whether it's doing something with my hair, changing the color of the tape on my stick, just little things. I know they might not mean much to the normal person but I'm a pretty superstitious guy, so I definitely think about that stuff."

Like Stamkos, Michael Del Zotto, picked No. 20 by the New York Rangers, has a game-day routine that he strictly follows, but he changed it after struggling early this season with the Oshawa Generals. 

"Well, usually before every game I do the exact same routine every single day," Del Zotto said. "There's not really anything special. I put my equipment on the exact same way every time -- the exact same time. I switched it up a bit this year just because I had a rough start to the year. So I kind of switched things up hoping it would change my luck, but nothing really too special."

Some of the most superstitious players are goalies and Chet Pickard, taken No. 18 by the Nashville Predators, is no exception. Pickard, who backed up Carey Price in 2006-07 for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, is trying to not let all of his quirks get in the way.

"I used to be really superstitious -- if I said something weird in my head during the game, I would knock on my stick because everyone says you have to knock on wood or something like that," Pickard said. "That's another thing I learned from Carey (Price) -- just go out there and play your game and you don't think about it too much. Nowadays I don't really have many superstitions when it comes to being on the ice or getting ready or stuff. I just go through my normal routine and get stretched out and stuff."

Other players, however, don’t adhere to any superstitions, like Colten Teubert, drafted No. 13 by the Los Angeles Kings.

"I fly by the seat of my pants, I guess," Teubert said. "I don't have anything really that crazy about me. I usually eat pre-game at the same time and shower at the same time before every game. Other than that, I just get dressed and play."

Despite regular guys like Teubert, there are always going to be some wacky things happening in hockey locker rooms.

Author: Adam Schwartz | NHL.com Staff Writer

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