When Pens winger Phil Kessel arrived at Ricoh Coliseum for Pittsburgh’s optional practice on Friday, he was met with a surprise.
Instead of finding his gear in a locker stall, it was set up on a chair outside of the locker room, complete with a case of Coke-a-Cola, cups for coffee, some signs and a big sign above it all reading “The Phil Zone.”
The prank was the brainchild of center Evgeni Malkin and head equipment manager Dana Heinze.
The backstory is this. On Thursday the Pens were playing against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. However, there were only 24 locker stalls available and 25 players in attendance.
Heinze approached Malkin out of respect and asked if he would mind being placed in a chair, since he was not playing that evening against the Devils. Malkin, of course, was fine with it.
Heinze set out to find “the nicest chair possible,” and set up his gear on the seat. As the team arrived for the morning skate, Kessel began chirping both Heinze and Malkin. He even tweeted a pic of the seat saying: “Pigeon couldn’t even get a regular stall.”
So Malkin and Heinze put their heads together for some payback.
“It wasn’t my idea. It was Dana. He said we need to answer,” Malkin said. “I wanted to answer today and Dana helped me.”
Pros: rich and doesn’t care about making more money, stays away from drama.
Cons: too superstitious, doesn’t like the spotlight, running the NHL would take away from playing the game, refuses to wear shoes other than skates or crocs, Philadelphia is mysteriously left out of the schedule for the season, is found dead after choking on a mozzarella stick.
Pros: smart guy, fair, doesn’t hold grudges, likes to teach people and take them under his wing, serious and stays on topic
Cons: would be too focused on promoting vegetables instead of hockey.
pros: mature, good candidate for making the sport of hockey more diverse.
cons: all of his clothes have rips in them. rappers everywhere will make rap songs about him and none of the players would take him seriously. Every team’s goal song is a rap song about Auston Matthews.
pros: nice guy, works hard, loves the game. A Stanley cup champion.
Cons: can’t deal with reporters.
pros: went to college.
Cons: only eats skittles and Nutella and drinks bottled water. A bad influence on children.
Pros: smart, nice, good leader, respected, won’t blame you if you break his collar bone.
Cons: no one pays attention to what he’s saying because they can’t get over how fast and talented he is and the fact that he’s CONNOR MCDAVID. None of the announcers ever talk about the game. All they talk about is their beloved commissioner. They can’t get over how amazing he is.
pros: been in the game a long time. He loves to assist people. Loves it. Joseph Eric Thornton lives to serve.
Cons: grabs random guys’ beards to compare them to his. No one has a better beard than Jumbo. Children mistake him for Santa Claus and cry because he’s too skinny and they think he doesn’t eat their milk and cookies.
pros: lots of females suddenly become huge fans of hockey.
Cons: always naked, giggles too much, spends too much time taking selfies, covers everything in pink glitter.
Pros: good leader, wants things fair for everyone
Cons: spaces out too much. Gets rid of all the music in the arenas and replaces it with elevator music. Spends most of him time thinking about how to work an elevator. He only knows how to go up in them because he doesn’t go down.
Carey Price takes care of boring, behind the scenes stuff. Alex Ovechkin is the front man. He talks to the press and promotes the league. Team North America comes back. Former Team Europe is split up by individual country, and Team Europe becomes 23 year olds and younger players from countries in Europe and Russia. Everyone is happy. The End.