When recently-acquired Pens defenseman Justin Schultz
took the ice for his first full practice with the team on Friday, he skated around for about a minute completely oblivious to what was going on above him.
Sidney Crosby, however, noticed right away, and the two of them had a laugh as they looked up – where Schultz’s street clothes were dangling from the rafters, with “NEW GUY” spelled out in white tape across the back of his coat. Everything – including his shoes – were hanging from a hook that had been lowered from the ceiling.
Immediately, Schultz thought of something he’d come across on the Internet in the past.
“I don’t know what I was watching, maybe YouTube or something, but I actually saw (the Pens) do it to someone else a while ago,” Schultz grinned. “That’s what I thought about right when I saw it. It’s pretty funny.”
The victim in question could have been Bryan Rust, as he was subjected to this exact prank just last year. He skated over to Schultz and informed him of his own experience, where he enlisted the help of the equipment staff to help him retrieve his belongings.
“When he saw it, he said that happened to me,” Schultz smiled. “Made me a feel a little better.”
“It’s all in good fun. It’s kind of a welcome to the team,” Rust said. “Obviously it happened to me last year. It’s something where you walk on the ice and you don’t really notice it at first and guys are pointing and laughing, then all of a sudden you look up in shock and you can’t help but laugh.”
When asked if he knew who was behind the mischief, Schultz claimed he heard a few of the guys saying Crosby was responsible – but the captain pleaded innocent.
“I got here late this morning to the rink. Not too late, but late enough to not have enough time to do that,” he grinned. “It’s a nice welcoming there for him and we’ll see who did it, we’ll try to find out. But most times, those guys don’t get caught.”
Rust can attest to that, as he still doesn’t know who pranked him last year. But he’s willing to team up with Schultz and ask some tough questions around the room so they can both have some closure.
“The investigation continues,” Rust laughed. “It was probably the same culprit, so I’ll help ‘Schultzy’ figure that out.”
No matter what the resolution is, all of the guys got a kick out of it – and that’s what matters.
“It makes you feel part of the team,” Schultz said. “It’s all in good fun. It’s a fun prank. Every day I’m here I’m feeling more comfortable and the guys have been great.”
That’s been their goal.
“It’s going to help him feel part of the team, it’s going to help him feel welcome,” Rust said. “I know it did for me last year and that’s kind of something we try to do, is if new guys are traded in or they’re called up, just trying to make them feel as welcome as possible.”