Players have routines, but are not superstitious
SAN JOSE >> The first rule about having superstitions is to not to refer to them as being superstitions.
They’re called routines, in case you were curious.
“Superstition has this stigma about it,” Sharks winger Evander Kane said. “Superstitions are fine. Everybody has them, whether they admit it or not.”
The Sharks have won six straight going into Tuesday’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve completely turned around their season in that time, going from a team that was at the bottom of the Western Conference standings to one that has rejoined the pack in the bunched up Pacific Division.
There’s a few reasons why the Sharks have enjoyed more success: Tighter defense at times. Increased scoring. Good special teams. Timely saves.
But believing in superstition to switch up the mojo isn’t one of them, they say. Like most other
professional athletes, their routines, especially on game days, are ingrained.
Doing something out of the ordinary to spark a turnaround hasn’t been out of the question in the past for the Sharks.
As a guest on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast earlier this year, former Sharks forward T.J. Galiardi said that when the team was on a losing streak during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he jokingly taped pre-wrap around his head before a game. He later went into the trainer’s room and saw Joe Thornton, who noticed some loose strands of Galiardi’s hair sticking out.
Thornton then, according to Galiardi, snipped off a good chunk of the protruding locks.
The Sharks won that night, and kept winning. Suddenly, a new tradition of cutting off a little bit of hair from an unfortunate player’s head -- usually Galiardi’s -- was born. It reached a point that after a playoff win over the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, Thornton, according to Galiardi, snipped off a bit of hair from owner Hasso Plattner’s head.
During the 2003-2004 season, general manager Doug Wilson would share a pizza with two beat writers assigned to cover the team before games, including one from The Mercury News. He would then sit between them in the press box during games.
The routines started early in the season when the team was struggling. That season ended with the Sharks advancing to its first-ever Western Conference Final.
DeBoer said when the Sharks go on the road, he and his staff will remember “what desk we sat the last time we were at if we’re on a win streak Or, if we lost last time in, we’ll shuffle the deck.
“It’s ridiculous, but I think everybody does it.”
When he’s at home and has a free night during the season, Sharks center Tomas Hertl said he’ll usually walk to a bakery in the South Bay after dinner for a cupcake. It’s a habit he began last season, and he went on to have a career year. There was simply no need to change things this year.
“It started last year and it worked all season,” Hertl said, “so it kind of got into (my routine).”
Kane said he’s worn the same watch to every home game this season, and right now has 10 points in 10 games at SAP Center.
Bottom line, if a player thinks he’s playing well because of whatever quirky office or pregame habits they might have, then so be it. Right now, the Sharks are on a pretty good roll.