Being a rookie in the NHL isn’t a walk in the park. For some, especially if you come into the season as an early draft pick and future super star, it sure can be demanding.
Even though they’ve played hundreds and hundreds of games throughout minors and juniors, the NHL is something different. Every team has its own pregame routines and procedures, including drills during warmups.
And if you got a future Hall of Fame goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist guarding the crease, you should probably be careful. That, Kevin Hayes got to experience.
Hayes got on the Rangers team after training camp in 2014, but was scratched in the first two games. On Oct. 12 2014, he was going to play in his first NHL game, at Madison Square Garden against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But Hayes didn’t get through warmups before someone told him to chill.
“I was so jacked up, playing in MSG against Toronto and my dad’s there and all. I was so jacked up for warmups like, playing my first NHL game, Hayes said on the Spitting Chiclets podcast. “And we get to the half circle like at the end were everyone shoots, and I had no idea when I’m gonna get passed to because “Zucc” was passing the puck. I get a puck and actually rips it on Hank. Scored high, like bar down”.
Hayes sure did something that no one expected or actually did themselves. And he was told it wasn’t a good thing.
“Martin St. Louis was like ‘what the fuck are you doing?’,” Hayes recalls. “Ever since then, and I’ve played like 350 games. I’ve shot into Hanks glove 349 games”.
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