Let's face it, athletes are weird. They sacrifice large portions of their lives to dedicate themselves to playing children's games and hope one day for the big score. On top of that, they forgo the ability to logically think through a problem, and instead put their trust in a habit or other unchanging portion of their life to get them through. Add in the fact that hockey players are a little off to begin with, and goalies doubly so, and it makes for a rich mix of pseudo-religious fervor at playoff time.
Every player has their superstition. Some put the left skate on first, but tie the right one first. Others only tape their sticks one way, with tape running clockwise versus counterclockwise. Niklas Backstrom has his infamous "turtle walk" before the games he starts, and if he is interrupted or even encountered, the entire day is shot and we all may as well move to Mars.
The fans, coaches, even media surrounding a team grow their "playoff beard." Why? Because we have to. If we don't it's our fault they lost. If they lose anyway, then it on them, but we did our part by not shaving. Fans eat the same foods for a week if the team is winning, players wear the same socks, coaches the same tie. We all do it, we reach for the lucky charm and silently hope it is enough to will our favorite team to success.
There is no doubt that the players are doing their best to uphold their superstitions, the coaches are looking to change something up (but not the tie...), and fans are just hoping that holding their beer in their left hand on Thursday, rather than the right, is enough to get the Wild through their first elimination game in five years.
The question you have to ask though, is... "Is it time to buck superstition?" Should we have a mass beard shaving? All line up and greet Backstrom as he walks United Center? Wear a different pair of socks to work than we did for the last week and a half?
It may be a slight to the hockey gods, but maybe the hockey gods want us to help ourselves. Who are we to assume we know what they want? The best we can hope for is to not anger them, lest they rain down their anger by hurting Josh Hardin in the first period of a game three and forcing Mike Yeo to play Darcy Kuemper for the rest of the game against the President's trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks.
Wild fans, our time here is short. The Wild face an elimination game, in Chicago, against the best team in the regular season. All this, while relying on the same superstitions that got them in this mess to get them out of it.
The only thing left to do? This: