Mark Letestu’s mid-game mustard snack is gross, engrossing

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When you play 560 regular-season games despite going undrafted, you might just pick up a few tricks.

In the case of Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Letestu, apparently one thing he’s learned is to use mustard to treat/prevent cramps. He was seen consuming a mustard packet on the bench during Thursday’s 5-3 preseason loss to the Edmonton Oilers. You can watch that appalling spectacle in the video above this headline.

As you enjoy that clip, slather on a few thoughts:

  • It’s especially admirable that Letestu just goes for it, efficiently eating the mustard as if he was eating Go-Gurt. You can’t coach that level of sticktoitiveness; you either have it, or you don’t.
  • That said, I think it’s pretty clear that Letestu didn’t enjoy the experience. Allow us to take the Zapruder route and capture him wincing:

That’s the reaction most of us had to watching the clip, so that’s a mood.

Apparently the sharp flavor might explain why the mustard works, along with other initially baffling remedies.

  • Huge bonus points to whoever put that NHL.com video together for using the same stock music that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” uses between certain scenes. Does this make Letestu a McPoyle, or would he more appropriately fit in with Frank and Charlie, who are known for unorthodox cuisine?
  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve long been more familiar with players chugging pickle juice to ward off cramps. NBC Sports Philadelphia chronicled how pickle juice saved the day during a ridiculously hot Dallas Cowboys – Philadelphia Eagles game back in 2000, while New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman drew enough attention consuming pickle juice that he claimed that he might endorse his own stuff, according to SI’s Mike Blinn in 2018.
  • This is all a helpful reminder that we’re almost at the point where we’ll see Alex Ovechkin and others using smelling salts on the bench. That’s usually a treat.
  • If Letestu’s warrior-like consumption of mustard leaves you wanting to root for his career, there’s a cause. The good news for the 36-year-old is that he is on a legitimate contract, rather than a PTO. The bad news is that he’ll have to show that Eye of the Mustard Tiger, as it’s a two-way contract that pays him $700K at the NHL level and $350K at the AHL level.

Sometimes you show you “want it” by blocking shots; sometimes you show it by decisively downing mustard on the bench.

All of that said, there’s evidence spotted by Deadspin of a 2014 Alabama high school football player drinking mustard as if it was Gatorade, so Letestu does have some competition.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.