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Luck of the draw
 
MONTREAL | January 10th, 2012
Luck of the draw
When it comes to hockey superstitions, goaltenders are in a league of their own. Gilbert Dionne found that out first-hand in the spring of 1993.

No time of year is more intense for a hockey player than the NHL playoffs. Simply making it to the postseason itself is hardly a guarantee.

In just his second year in the league, Dionne learned quickly that when it comes to hockey’s second season, every detail matters.

“My stall at the Forum was right between Patrick Roy and Guy Carbonneau back then. The dressing room was pretty small, so you didn’t really have a ton of space to get ready,” described Dionne of the close quarters he shared with his All-Star teammates.

“I was still on the ice for the warmup before one of our games in the conference finals against the Islanders,” he recalled. “Patrick had already gone to the dressing room and carefully placed his mask, blocker and trapper on the floor in front of him.”

Having spent his share of time next to Roy in the room, the 22-year-old winger was well aware of the future Hall-of-Famer’s keen attention to detail. And with a five-game overtime winning streak to maintain, Dionne had no intention of messing with the star netminder’s preparation.

“When I came into the room, I lightly and accidentally grazed his glove as I was walking to my stall,” shared Dionne with a chuckle.

A stickler for routine, noticing his equipment wasn’t exactly as he had left it, Roy did what any rational NHL netminder would do: he made his teammates go back on the ice so he could re-start his ritual from the beginning.

“Patrick just looked at me and said ‘Get back out there’. So that’s exactly what I did,” he laughed.

Never one to question an order from his elders, the Drummondville native snapped to action, replacing Roy’s trapper to its original position before making his way out of the room as instructed.

“Even though I was the one who was at fault, all the other guys who were on their way to the dressing room had to turn around, too,” cracked Dionne, who helped lead the Habs to a league-record 10 straight overtime wins that spring. “A few minutes later, Patrick came to see me, gave me a wink and said, ‘Ok, I’m ready. You can come back now.’

“We were all a little superstitious, but we had a good time with it and we all got along really well,” he added. “The funny thing was, the biggest superstition of all was one we just ignored completely; we had no problem at all touching the Prince of Wales Trophy after we won the conference finals. It worked out, though – we won the Cup a few weeks later!”

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