The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 24, 2008

Inside hockey’s superstitions

(Continued)

PITTSBURGH —

Malkin retapes his stick between periods and must take a pair of scissors out of Heinze’s pocket to cut the tape. The list goes on.

The most superstitious Penguin is one of the youngest: Crosby. He was asked about them earlier this week.

“Too many to discuss, to be honest,” he said with a smile. “Especially in the playoffs.”

After the Pens defeated Philadelphia in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, Crosby refused to touch the conference championship trophy during the official presentation.

Other players declined to don the commemorative Eastern Conference championship caps.

The conference crown isn’t the big prize. Partaking in such activities, the theory goes, is bad luck.

“Our guys have unbelievable superstitions,” said Ed Johnston, the Penguins senior advisor of hockey operations. “Sid has four or five of them.”

Johnston is a former Pittsburgh general manager and coach. Even though he’s not on the bench these days, Johnston is not immune from superstition.

“The coaching staff, we’re just as bad as the players are,” said Johnston, who won a championship as a goaltender on the 1959-60 Johnstown Jets. “I wear a certain suit, one I had on for the last six or seven games we were undefeated. As soon as the game is over, I go home and put it back in the vault. I’ll bring it out for the Detroit series. Some of the coaches wear the same tie. They don’t change their stuff. That’s part of the game when you’re winning.”

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