The art of taping a twig is serious business. Some take it more seriously than others, like our pal Marc Savard, but every hockey player has a certain way they like to do it.
Most players keep it simple and go heel to toe with their choice of black or white tape, although Mark Scheifele takes the opposite route and goes toe to heel. Some go unnoticed like black tape on a black blade, while others are eye-catching…just not always for the right reasons.
A select group of NHL stars were recently asked about their tape job techniques and rituals and when asked who has the worst tape job in the NHL, Patrik Laine, Nick Bjugstad, Andreas Athanasiou, Josh Ho-Sang, Kevin Fiala and Artemi Panarin were among those who received votes.
Boston Bruins star David Pastrnak got a couple mentions, too, with Shayne Gostisbehere describing it as the weirdest tape job he’s ever seen and Pastrnak’s own goalie Tuukka Rask saying in a video the NHL posted Tuesday that “it looks like a two-year-old tapes his stick.”
No player was chirped more than Jamie Benn though.
“Mine’s probably the best in the league,” the Dallas Stars captain said with a smirk, knowing how many feel about his tape job.
Here’s a sampling of the reviews Benn’s stick got from his peers.
Tyler Seguin: “There’s no tape on it and he has to re-tape it every two shifts.”
T.J. Oshie: “I don’t know how he plays hockey.”
Vladimir Tarasenko: “I don’t know how you can tape the middle of the stick and play.”
Jordan Eberle: “It’s kinda gross. I don’t know if he still does it but I think it’s just one piece of tape isn’t it? Two pieces? It’s…I don’t know how he plays with it.”
Patrick Kane: “I guess that’s what [Eric] Lindros used to do back in the day but it just looks bad with the black blade. I guess it works for him but I’d say it’s pretty ugly.”
Is it really that bad? Judge for yourself.
“It’s so unique,” Benn said with a smile. “I’m like a unicorn tape job. It takes a lot of skill to use this baby.”
Benn has 596 points in 667 career NHL games, plus an Art Ross Trophy, two first-team all-star selections and an Olympic gold medal to his name, so his tape job seems to be working for him just fine.