Flames creatures of habit

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:17 PM ET


 Superstition has its place in the NHL.

 Just not in the dressing room of the Calgary Flames.

 Where the odd veteran resorts to coins in his skates or dieting on chicken and pasta every game day, there's little in the way of pre-game rituals fuelling the Flames.

 "We don't have a very superstitious team," said Flames right-winger Chris Clark. "The biggest thing about us is routine, I think. It's the same thing for me every day."

 It's much the same for every Flame after the morning skate on game day. It's go home, eat lunch, take an afternoon nap and awake in time to arrive at the Saddledome about three hours prior to game time.

 Some will relax with a good book, others will surf the Internet and fathers will spend time with their children.

 And many will stop to grab a coffee on the way and gobble down a Power Bar, bagel or some other nutritious snack to prime them for the puck drop.

 "Then I've got a routine here," Clark continued. "Tape a couple of sticks up, get ready, stretch and get into meetings."

 But that's all considered part of good preparation for games rather than superstition.

 "I used to be superstitious," said Flames defenceman Steve Montador.

 "I can't remember what it was but I was unable to do it one day. And I decided I wasn't going to let myself believe it would help us win or make us lose."

 Captain Jarome Iginla said he doesn't "believe in superstitions at all."

 "Sometimes you play with guys who are are more superstitious or really superstitious and to each their own -- whatever helps them get prepared. We laugh about different ones that some guys might have or have had. But, personally, I don't put any stock in them."

 For the most part, that attitude has rubbed off on the entire team.

 "For me," said Montador, "I'm not even going to rely on having my stick taped perfectly the exact same time every day with the same colour to allow us to win or for me to have a good game. But if somebody wants to worry about that, then go for it."

 That would give Iginla a new mission in the room.

 "Yeah, if someone says they have one, I'll be happy to break it," said Iginla with a chuckle. "Over the times, I've probably broken one or two for Connie (linemate Craig Conroy). I can't think of them, right now. But I do it just to bug him."

 "He is the anti-superstition," added Clark of Iginla. "I think his superstition is not being superstitious. He wants to be against it so much, I think that's his superstition.

 "And he sticks to it."


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