There seems to be one hockey truism, whether the game is being played by 4-year-olds on frozen lakes or in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Goaltenders are a little different from the other players on the team.
For instance, Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall used to vomit before almost every game he played. Ask teammates throughout the years like Chicago's Bill Hay or St. Louis' Bob Plager, and they will tell you 40 or 50 years later that if Hall was scheduled to be in net and didn't throw up, they had a bad feeling about the game. Plager, in fact, would encourage his goaltender to get sick.
Bernie Parent wore No. 00 with the WHA's Philadelphia Blazers because he used to say "uh-oh" after allowing a goal.
Glenn "Chico" Resch (Steve Babineau/NHLI)
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante was on some great Stanley Cup-winning teams in the 1950s and 1960s, but always became ill in Toronto, according to some of his teammates, because of the air. Those same teammates felt it had more to do with Maple Leafs players like Frank Mahovlich than the air. Plante also liked to knit toques in his downtime.
One-time Toronto Toros (WHA) and New York Rangers goaltender Gilles Gratton claimed he was reincarnated and would use a stomach injury as an excuse to skip a game. The injury, Gratton said, occurred when he was killed as a solider in the Spanish Inquisition.
Another Montreal goaltender, Patrick Roy, had conversations with the goalposts. Roy said he heard the post talk after a puck dinged it, and Roy would say thank you, or have other words with the posts and crossbar.
Goaltenders are different -- except when you ask a goaltender about being different.
"Not goaltenders, we think we are very normal. We think the rest of the world is strange," said long-time NHL goaltender and current New Jersey Devils television analyst Glenn "Chico" Resch.
In 1975, while playing for the New York Islanders, Resch got somewhat intimate with the goalposts in Pittsburgh during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
After being the New York Rangers in the best-of-three Preliminary Round series, the Isles dropped the first three games of the series to the Penguins.
If history was their guide, the Islanders were in deep trouble. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs had overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series, beating Detroit to win the Stanley Cup.
The Islanders won Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum, took Game 5 in Pittsburgh and came home to beat Pittsburgh in Game 6. That set up the unlikely Game 7 in Pittsburgh.
Islanders coach Al Arbour had Resch, a rookie, in goal on that April 26, 1975 evening. It was the fifth time Arbour's team had faced elimination, and if it wasn't for some extra help in the Islanders' defensive zone early in the game, New York might not have made history. It was around that time that Resch started thinking about his newly found Pittsburgh friend.
"The first couple shifts of the game, I think I had about three goalposts, and in the whole series I had been getting breaks with the goalposts," said Resch. "I figured, if you had a friend that really did something fantastic for you, you would give them a hug, give them a kiss. I am sure if you were excited about it as I was, and at that time the goalpost was the best friend I had in the world, and I thought I got to treat this post right and give it a big smacker.
"So it was a lot of fun that whole playoffs, and when you are having fun and sort of are on a high, you do crazy things. I guess that was one of things that lead people to believe that goalies a little strange. I think I might have kissed it a couple of times. But I can remember specifically looking at the goalpost and kissing where the puck hit. If I am not mistaken, I think it was like the second period.
"That romance was a long time ago, and you know how goalies' minds go after a while, so I can't be real definite, but I would guess some time during the second period."
Resch and the posts kept Pittsburgh off the board. Islanders captain Ed Westfall then scored with a little more than five minutes left to give New York a 1-0 lead. Resch and the Islanders' defense shut down Pittsburgh the rest of the way. Resch made 30 stops and his teammates apparently had no problem with him having a good time with his newly found friend, some red iron mate he picked up on the ice.
"The first couple shifts of the game, I think I had about three goalposts, and in the whole series I had been getting breaks with the goalposts. I figured, if you had a friend that really did something fantastic for you, you would give them a hug, give them a kiss." -- Chico Resch
"I think most players recognize that goaltenders can be a little eccentric. It comes with the position only because you are either real high, you know you are on a hot streak or things aren't going well and then you are really frustrated and down. I think it just comes with the territory," said Resch. "I am sure some of the defense and forwards shake their heads, or did when they heard about that. But believe me, it meant as much to them, what that goalpost was doing, to the entire team, not just to me."
Of course, Resch's wife, Diane, could have thought differently.
"She was pretty understanding and said don't ever let that ever happen again or else you are in big trouble," he said with a laugh. "Unfortunately I was never in that position. I guess the goalpost got wind of it and it was never quite as good to me as it was that year."