The Twittersphere was a bit too subdued for my liking last night, so I decided to mention with about 10 minutes left in the third period that Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj was working on a shutout. Most people took this blatant breach of superstition protocol for what it was: a bad joke.
Predictably, however, there was a vocal minority whose reactions ranged from annoyed to outraged, including one guy who said I was being disrespectful. Disrespectful to whom? To Peter Budaj? My understanding of the superstition is that you don't mention to the goalie that he's got a shutout going, just like you don't talk to a pitcher who's working on a no-hitter or a perfect game, and I'm pretty sure Budaj wasn't packing an iPhone in his blocker and checking my Twitter feed during stoppages in play. Maybe if I were a player or coach I wouldn't mention the shutout, primarily because I'd be too focused on how to add to a 1-0 lead while at the same time being defensively responsible.
If there's an unwritten rule about not mentioning a shutout, its application stops at the bench. It's not on anyone else inside or outside the building to cater to superstition - sailors, wizards and Italian grandmothers notwithstanding. Even Vin Scully mentioned that Sandy Koufax was perfect before Koufax completed his perfect game in 1965. VIN SCULLY. If the greatest sports broadcaster of all time can break with perceived mystical convention on the Los Angeles Dodgers radio network, it shouldn't sink anyone's ship when the blowhard from the local all sports morning show does the same thing on Twitter.
By the way, Budaj got the shutout, so you can come out from under the covers, put away the garlic and take the horseshoe off the door.