Have questions for Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais? He's got the answers! Every week, Pierre will answer questions from fans submitted through social media. Here's the fourth edition of Ask Gerv!
To read the previous edition, click here.
1. Question from Mathieu Piette, via Facebook
"Who was the most superstitious player or the one whose requests were more particular over the years?"
The most superstitious I've ever seen - and I've said it often - was Patrick Roy. Absolutely. Patrick had some pretty incredible superstitions. I know about a lot of them… and I still don't know them all! Every team has some guys who are on the superstitious side. Usually, I'll see guys doing things here and there, but with Patrick, we were pretty involved in his. At one point, he would be playing with a puck between periods and he would place it in the locker room a certain way. So you had to make sure to: 1) not forget the puck, and 2) warn the locker room attendant from the other team to not move the puck if he saw it on the ground. It happened once.
He had all kinds of superstitions. In the playoffs in 1993, he played with the same stick in every elimination game - the same stick! So after one game, he handed it right to me, and I agreed to keep an eye on it. When we were at the Forum, I'd hide it in a spot that only I knew about because I really didn't want it to disappear. I knew him well and I knew how important this was to him. When we were on the road, I would put it in the stick bag and I told the guys to make sure it was always there. He had superstitions he'd take care of on his own, things he'd do when getting dressed, when coming to the rink... he'd even have certain routes he'd take to get to the Forum if he won the game before. Lots of things like that!
I have some players that have quite a few. It could be the way they arrange things in their locker. Sometimes, they do their own thing, but it's always done the same way. But for other guys, it's totally the opposite. Brendan Gallagher, for example, just comes to play hockey. He never asks for anything, he doesn't do anything of the sort, he's all over the place! Between periods, his tape can be a mess and he won't re-do it. Some guys are very meticulous, but he wants nothing of it. He just plays hockey - that's the kind of guy he is.
When I worked with Sidney Crosby for Team Canada, he would ask for certain things, but I don't think it was really out of superstition. I remember that he would sharpen his skates between periods, even if he didn't need it. I've never seen a player who's done that. It's not superstition, I think he just wanted to have to have some peace of mind, to feel that everything is set when he steps out on the ice for the second and third periods. He takes them off and brings them to the skate sharpening machine himself every period, without fail. When he came to the Olympics, the Penguins equipment staff told me two or three things, including the skate sharpening. He always leaves his stick in the locker room. He leaves it there after morning skate and he likes that it's there when he gets back. Normally, the sticks are all put away, but he likes it that way. Those are his special requests, little things that help him perform at his best.
2. Question from Franck Hockey, via Facebook
"Which player has the lowest flex?"
I don't know them all, but I know Alexander Radulov's is very low. He plays with 85's and I don't think there's anything lower than that. The highest flex belongs to Shea Weber, who is at 140. It has about as much give as a steel bar!