The Caps and smelling salts
After the first period of Saturday's Caps win over the Coyotes, the CSN broadcast showed a clip of Alex Ovechkin taking a whiff of smelling salts and grimacing. See above.
Now, smelling salts have long been available on hockey benches, and are used as sort of a ritual by some players, but it's something I've never asked the Caps about. So this week I did.
"I've never used a smelling salt in my life," Brooks Laich told me.
"I use salt in my food a lot," Matt Bradley chimed in from the next stall.
"Sometimes I put salt on eggs," Laich continued.
"Or pepper," Bradley said.
Yes, it was comedy hour at Kettler. Turning (marginally) serious, Laich said if he gets hit hard, he'll "get some water, straighten the senses out, go back on the ice." But the dressing room does have at least a few guys who use the smelling salts as part of their routine. Mike Knuble, for example, waves them in front of his nose before every period.
"It's more just a habit, I'm not sniffing them," he said. "I don't think it's good for your brain, probably. It makes you like, whoooo if you sniff it hard, but I don't really want to sniff it hard."
Brendan Morrison does the same thing shortly before every game, "just to kind of get a quick wake up," he said.
"I'm not a guy that sits there and inhales the whole thing, just a quick little sniff just to give you that little alertness right off the bat," he said. "It's almost like a quick shot of wasabi, you know what I mean? It's just like bam, and you're like, whoa....It might be more routine than anything."
"There was always half a dozen guys that did, ever since I played junior," said Bruce Boudreau, who never was into the smelling salts thing. "It wakes you up, I guess. I don't know. I've never done it."
Most of the other players I asked also avoided the stuff.
"I tried, one, because Juicie took it and put it under my nose," Tomas Fleischmann said of the departed Milan Jurcina. "But it smells bad."
"Nobody in this corner uses smelling salts," said David Steckel, who sits near Laich and Bradley. "Gatorade, just make sure you're hydrated."
"I don't even like to get near the stuff," Tom Poti said.
"You ever use smelling salts, every time you type a bad blog?" Laich also asked me. I don't, but it might not be a terrible idea.
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