March 09, 2009
Tyler Kennedy had finished a session in the trainer's room after his Pittsburgh Penguins skated away with a 4-3 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. I ducked in, introduced myself and said I had a quick question for him.
"The licking the stick?" Kennedy quickly asked, without provocation.
"Was that not a turn-on or what?"
Kennedy, the 22-year-old in his second year as an NHL forward, entered into YouTube infamy over the weekend when an eagle-eyed fan DVR'd him licking his stick on the bench during a game against the Florida Panthers.
As of Monday morning, that clip had well over 11,000 views; so what was the motivation behind Kennedy's stick lick?
Here's a fresh look at a hilarious hockey moment:
What made Kennedy's lumber lick more memorable was the fact that he actually scored two goals in the game -- his first multi-goal game since last November.
Theories flooded the Web about his motivation for this strange bit of hockey voodoo. One theory claimed that a coach accidently touched Kennedy's stick during the clip, and the Penguin was licking off the bad vibes.
"No, no that's not it," he said.
Was it simple hockey superstition? Was it the influence of teammate Max Talbot, who spits on his stick for good luck and thus motivated Kennedy to lick his (as was explained on a Pittsburgh broadcast for FSN Pittsburgh)?
Kennedy didn't volunteer Talbot's trendsetting as a motivation, even though it obviously seems to be the likely catalyst. Kennedy instead said he salivated on his equipment because he thought "maybe it'll bring me a little luck."
Perhaps it did. The lick came prior to his two-goal game in Florida, and Kennedy said he didn't repeat the feat against the Capitals -- going scoreless with two penalty minutes and getting checked through the Plexiglas by Milan Jurcina.
"I might have to start licking my stick all the time now," he said.