If you’ve been a fan of the super popular Spittin’ Chiclets podcast over the past year or so, you’ve most likely already heard this story before. If not, this might very well qualify as a *MUST LISTEN* clip.
But before you listen to Paul Bissonnette’s account on the infamous bag skate story, let me provide you with a little bit of context to paint a better picture.
The year was 2003, the Penguins were an awful team, and Mario Lemieux was entering his 16th season of his illustrious hall-of-fame NHL career. At 37-years old, Lemieux had already accomplished so much in nearly two decades of playing professional hockey – 682 goals, 1,692 points, two Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe trophies, three MVPs, ten All-Star game appearances, and the list goes on and on. On top of that, he owned the damn hockey team he happened to play for. Talk about leverage.
So when his head coach at the time/former teammate, Eddie Olcyzk (who also happened to be one year younger than his best player), decided to make Lemieux and the rest of his teammates bag skate (i.e. do sprints) after a practice in training camp that year, #66 had a different opinion on things.
Talk about an absolute power move and a half. Say what you want about conditioning being important part of hockey, if the GOAT tells you to piss off when you try to make him do something he doesn’t want to do, you listen. Credit to Eddie O for being a good sport.
P.S. – Here’s an all-time quote from Lemieux back in the day when he was once asked about how he prepares his body for a new season:
What an absolute legend. Gary Roberts is probably vomiting somewhere just thinking about this.