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Jack Nicklaus gives Montreal Canadiens pregame pep talk (vid)

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The Montreal Canadiens were provided a real treat courtesy of a motivational pep talk from one of the true icons of sports, living legend Jack Nicklaus.

The 18-time major winner stopped by the Habs’ locker room ahead of Tuesday’s tilt against the Boston Bruins to read the starting lineup — he apparently nailed the pronunciation of every name — and provide some words of encouragement.

Nicklaus admitted he’d never been in a hockey locker room before nor knows much about the game before offering words that he believes translates to any sport.

“There’s no excuse for not being properly prepared, meaning you have to be ready to play, right? And the second thing I always try to do is never try to do anything I couldn’t do, meaning I always played within myself,” Nicklaus said in part, as transcribed by Puck Daddy. “Some of you can do some things, some of you can do other things and as long as I did that I was successful and I think that applies to any sport.”

Nicklaus’ impromptu appearance in the Canadiens’ locker room was due in part to a conversation head coach Michel Therrien had with a friend who was bringing along the icon to the game. Nicklaus apparently asked if he could stop in. The Habs not surprisingly were more than happy to oblige.

“We decided to have him say a few words and read off the starting lineup,” said Therrien.”I think it took a while for some of the players to realize what was happening.”

Nicklaus, an Ohio native, even took a friendly potshot at his hometown Columbus Blue Jackets.

“So I wish you guys well. I’m from Columbus incidentally,” he said.  That’s a bad deal right now, isn’t it? Forget that, I’ve only seen them play once.”

All told, Nicklaus’ visit left many players in awe, including netminder Carey Price, who said he was left “kind of awestruck” by being in the presence of such greatness.

For what it’s worth, Nicklaus’ pregame pep talk apparently paid off, as the Canadiens edged the Bruins by a score of 3-2 to improve to 11-1-1.

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