Lightning journal: Game-day rituals that resume Saturday

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) is one of the few players who does not take a nap before games. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) is one of the few players who does not take a nap before games. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published October 5
Updated October 5

TAMPA — With the start of another regular season for the Lightning on Saturday against the Panthers at Amalie Arena, game-day rituals and superstitions resume.

No game-day ritual is the same among players. Each player does or takes part in something different, big or small. For some, it's something they eat. Others have to do something specific.

Here are some of the things Lightning players do:

Victor Hedman: Many players sneak in a nap before games, but not Hedman. He plays Xbox for a couple of hours. Typically, he plays the FIFA soccer game or Fornite. "I don't want to fall asleep," he said.

Ondrej Palat: He considers his schedule fairly simple. He always likes a nap, then he high-fives his dog before he leaves.

Cory Conacher: Usually he naps and then eats a bowl of Cheerios. He expects his rituals to change, though. He has a 5-week-old son, Callum, at home.

Brayden Point: A nap and chicken pasta are always part of his day.

Ryan McDonagh: He eats salmon before every game, something he has done since turning professional. Salmon was often not available before games at other levels.

Mikhail Sergachev: He always high-fives one of the equipment managers, Jason Berger.

Danick Martel: He has to move around. Since he was 15, he always has played soccer before games, typically underneath the stands. "I can't sit around and just think about the game," he said.

Anthony Cirelli: He brings food home, then watches something on Netflix. He doesn't have a specific show he has to watch. Right now Cirelli is watching the second season of Ozark. Then he naps for about two hours. When he gets to the rink, he always gets a Red Bull energy drink with Conacher. "That," he said, "is a must."

Braydon Coburn: He has a series of specific high-fives he completes before stepping onto the ice. He always goes in the same pattern. Included in that pattern is a high-five with Berger and a low-five with Hedman. "I don't know why," Coburn said.

Slater Koekkoek: "I have got a lot of interesting rituals, but unfortunately for you, the bad part is, I can't tell any of them," he said.

Lightning season opener

vs. Panthers, 7 p.m. Saturday, Amalie Arena

TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 970-AM

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