T.J. Oshie likes to wake all of his teammates on the behind with his stick during warmups. Braden Holtby has his whole focus routine. Madison Bowey and Jakub Vrana like to...hold hands?
Professional athletes are known for having strange superstitions and rituals. Capitals rookies Bowey and Vrana are no exception. But theirs is unique in that it involves one another and is not a solitary practice.
Whenever Bowey and Vrana take the ice, whether it be for pregame warmups or before each period, they always come onto the ice together holding hands.
"He's always going in front of me and I go behind him and we kind of like hold the hands and just try to shake and skate on the ice together," Vrana said after a practice.
"It's like our game ritual or something."
When the Capitals come onto the ice, they walk single file from the locker room. Bowey is always in front of Vrana and the two are always holding hands with Bowey extending his hand behind him to the following Vrana.
You can see the two taking the ice hand in hand in here before the team's game against the Florida Panthers:
Anything to get an advantage, right?
"We're pretty good buddies off the ice," Bowey said. "Obviously, we've been together for the past two, three years now. It's I think just kind of something that we just are kind of going with right now."
This is not the first year the two have been teammates. They played together the past two seasons with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. Clearly, they developed a bond during that time, but this isn't a ritual they brought with them from Hershey. This is something new they came up with in Washington.
"One game we were just trying to get each other going a little bit and I lent my hand out and he gave me a little high five," Bowey said. "Now it just kind of carried on a little bit longer."
"He wanted to give me high five so from beginning we just do the high five," Vrana said, "And then lately I was like holding his hand and he didn't let it go and we just skate in the ice together."
This new ritual has now carried on for several weeks. For a while, it was working. With only one point for Vrana in the past 13 games, however, Bowey admitted they may need to change things up.
Vrana, however, sounds committed.
"We just think it's funny, but we do it every time."