It’s fairly normal to see NHL players flying around at high speeds on the ice. It’s a little bit weirder to see one sprinting through the concourse at full speed with his skates and equipment on. So why did cameras catch Minnesota’s Chris Stewart nearly running people over before Wednesday’s game? Was this indeed a bathroom-related issue?
Chris Stewart should not have eaten that burrito before the game pic.twitter.com/vXMQupRbjt— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 9, 2017
Nope. That’s just Stewart’s standard pregame routine, also known by his teammates as “The Stewie Sprint.”
As the Star Tribune wrote in a feature back in 2015, Stewart has been lacing up the skates to do pregame sprints for years. It makes for quite the scene as one of the NHL’s largest players — Stewart measures in 6’2, 242 pounds — runs around like his hair is on fire during the calm before the storm that is an NHL game.
“It just gets the legs going before you sit down for 17 or 18 minutes before the game. I’m coming in hot,” Stewart said back in 2015. “It just gets me going. It’s different in every barn. Some arenas have a longer straightaway, sometimes you’ve got to turn corners and you never really know what’s going to be in the way.
“It catches guys by surprise, and they seem to get a kick out of it.”
You can tell in the video above that basically everyone is used to Stewart’s pattern at this point. Eric Staal and Kyle Quincey don’t even flinch as he flies by. The man in the black jacket coming around the corner wasn’t so lucky, though, and nearly ended up getting trucked by a guy big enough to play in the NFL. That was a close call.
You don’t want to test Stewart in that situation, either.
“I gave Kuemps the one warning he’s going to get: Get out of the way because next time the train’s not getting off the tracks,” Stewart said.
Note to self: If you’re ever near the Wild locker room before a game, make sure to keep your head on a swivel.