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When David Rittich was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and promptly asked his new goalie coach to hit him in the head — not once, but twice — with shots as part of a bizarre game-day ritual he picked up in the American Hockey League, it was a great excuse for us to share that origin story and talk about the difference between routines and superstitions, and the importance of finding the right balance between the two.
As long-time NHL goaltending coach Mitch Korn noted when he first examined Braden Holtby’s elaborate pre-game preparations, it’s important to ask whether the goalie controls the routine, or does the routine control them?
Goalies weighed in too with stories of having to cut their pre-game habits after reaching pro because they realized all it took was a late bus arrival on a road trip to throw it – and them – off completely. Others like Thatcher Demko found themselves worn out before the puck dropped, another reminder of dangers of over-complicated preparations.
In other words, it’s important to find balance in your routines, and avoid crossing that line into superstition, especially if it’s one that can be disrupted. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t also seen a lot of the latter over the years at InGoal Magazine, so we thought we’d have a little fun and share a couple of the better stories as a follow up.
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