This article on Jarrko Ruutu yesterday got me thinking about all the pranks the Penguins have pulled in the past 12 months….Many have made it to the media so we can only wonder what hasn’t been reported and isn’t common knowledge. My guess: a lot of good stuff.
But here’s what we know:
--Someone (believed to be Ruutu) put baby powder all over Sidney Crosby’s towel so when he used it he was covered in it.
--Someone (again thought to be Ruutu) sewed the pants legs of rookie Kris Letang’s suit together.
--Max Talbot wore Crosby’s jersey and helmet out to a game-day skate duping thousands in Toronto.
--Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed himself inside of Colby Armstrong’s hockey bag while the team was in practice, waited patiently and then jumped out of it when Army was about to put his gear in.
--Armstrong and Georges Laraque staged a locker room confrontation last season just weeks after Laraque was acquired. The rouse was that Laraque found a racist drawing in/near his locker and accused Armstrong of it. Army denied but then admitted to it at which point he was “attacked” by BGL, much to the horror of the team.
As mentioned, we’re sure guys like Armstrong and Talbot have pulled a lot more pranks that have never (and probably never will) reach the light of day.
Why so much goofing around and light-hearted fun? Well, for one it's very a young team, the average age in the lineup last night was 26.15. When Talbot and Fleury return, that age will be lower still. And if you take into account some of the more veteran players (namely Laraque and Ruutu) that do not act their age; well that ought to bring the average down further. Sure there are some pretty vanilla guys like Rob Scuderi and Adam Hall that come to the rink every day to do their job and not much else, but the out-going nature of a whole host of individuals on the team keeps everyone on their toes, on the lookout for no shortage of mischievous activity.
Plus, when you have a winning atmosphere, things are naturally a little looser and a little more jovial than if you're not.
We also like that whether you're the face of the NHL's marketing push or a fresh-faced rookie, you have the same chance of getting a prank pulled on you. It's hard to imagine someone pulling this even on Mario Lemieux back in the mid-80s. Just goes to show, when it comes to the locker room Sid really is "just another one of the boys".