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From the Branches: Patrick Marleau’s got some interesting mid-game rituals

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Hockey is a strange sport, and more in your morning links.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Two games left in the regular season, and TSN has chosen to bless us with an article about Patrick Marleau’s second-intermission ice baths. Praise be. I needed some weirdness in my life.

Eleven minutes.

That’s how long Patrick Marleau says it takes him to undress, jump in the cold tub, get dressed again and be ready to head back to the ice. He has this routine​ timed to the minute because he’s done it in the second intermission in every game for the last eight years.

I’m imagining some curious teammate in San Jose standing by with a stopwatch as Marleau performs the fastest, chilliest quick-change act in hockey. Sometimes it takes me more than eleven minutes just to zip myself into a dress, and I don’t have to mess around with full-body protective gear and lace into skates.

“I thought he was nuts,” admitted defenceman Morgan Rielly, “but he’s been around enough to know what works for him.”

Even Marleau’s teammates think this is weird. That’s significant, because hockey players are generally weird, in a variety of different and fascinating ways that frequently go unremarked upon. Sometimes, I think we all lose sight of that.

The best part of this article, by far, is Mitch Marner admitting that he tried the cold bath thing a couple times, decided getting in and out of his equipment was too much work, and has instead moved on to the grown-up version of his junior-hockey routine of eating a whole bag of Skittles.

As for the 20-year-old Marner, he said he has his own way of getting jacked up for the third. He guzzles a can of the energy drink Red Bull every second intermission.

Marner has a gift for being delightfully, endearingly, boyishly predictable.

The Maple Leafs play the New Jersey Devils tonight in their second-to-last game of the regular season. We’ll have a preview up later this morning; until then, occupy yourselves with some non-bath-related news stories:

ICYMI

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Stuff We Didn’t Write

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Andersen searching for his game as postseason nears - Article - TSN
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Jake Gardiner, Morgan Rielly give Maple Leafs a 50-50 shot | Toronto Star
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And Now, For A Draft Lottery Update

Dahlin’s still going to go to Edmonton, because numbers are meaningless and life is a hellscape. Go Leafs Go.