No one knows how it started, but it almost always ends in frustration.
When the Canucks arrived at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa Monday morning for practice, Brandon Sutter and Jacob Markstrom were mid-game, starting to tire, starting to sweat, starting to swear.
Then Marky landed it and oh wow, "did you get that on camera?"
Sutter and Markstrom each had a roll of black hockey tape and they were attempting to land it on top of a thick line of wires running along the wall, 15 feet in the air, down the visiting team tunnel. We saw Marky stick it in three throws. Sutter missed nearly 30 times.
This isn't the first time the great tape toss challenge has presented itself in Ottawa. Outside the tunnel to the ice, high above where media speaks to coaches on game nights, there is another row of cables, housed in a metal case. Below the case are hooks, one every five feet or so (some closer, some farther), so additional cables can be strung. These hooks have made for hours of enjoyment over the years.
"I don't know how it started," laughed Henrik Sedin, a veteran of the tape toss, ring toss wannabe challenge. "It was maybe three or four years ago and guys have been doing it ever since. I don't know who started it either, but I know I didn't!"
Post-practice the stage was set for another great tape toss challenge and wouldn't you know it, Paul Albi had his cameras rolling.
Virtanen tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. And he finally nailed it.
No such luck for Sven Baertschi, Alexander Burmistrov or Erik Gudbranson, although none of them displayed the same stamina and determination as Virtanen. Just keep throwing. Just keep throwing. Just. Keep. Throwing.
It's a metaphor for life really…just kidding.
It's tape and a hook.
And it's awesome.