PETER BUDAJ

One of more than 150 players to graduate from the legendary St. Michael’s high school in Toronto to go on to the NHL, Peter Budaj has had a tough time establishing himself as a number-one goalie. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and was given every opportunity to be the heir to Patrick Roy’s crease, but Budaj has struggled to deliver what Avs management was hoping for. However, he is still a world-class goalie for Slovakia and has played in both the 2004 World Cup and 2006 Olympics for his country.

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The most outlandish feature of Budaj’s appearance is his masks, which have had several cartoon characters adorning them, including many from The Simpsons and video games.

Budaj is a creature of habit on game days, and his exact routine is an important part of his mental and physical preparation. He will wake up at 7:30 a.m., have a bowl of cereal and coffee, and get to the rink by 8:30 a.m. He goes through an extensive warmup for the morning skate, after which he has his main meal of the day.

In Budaj’s case, that means salmon with either pasta or rice. His preference is to stop by the same restaurant and take the meal home with him. After that, he must have a long nap, then get to the arena two hours before the game to do the same prep as he did in the morning before the light skate. Practise makes perfect.

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