By: Kevin Plaza
The coolest game on ice has one of the finest traditions that has recently, and by recently I mean since 1995, made a comeback. The playoff beard – the ultimate sign of team unity. We have just seen the NHL playoffs come and go and if your team made it far, you probably put the razor and shaving cream away as your hometown heroes pursued Lord Stanley’s Cup. Keep reading to learn all about the evolution of the phenomenon we’ve come to know as the playoff beard.
The Playoff Beard was started by the New York Islanders in the 1980’s when they won 4 straight Stanley Cups. Islanders players like Ken Morrow, Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Clark Gillies, and Gord Lane all grew out the beard come playoff time, leading them to 19 straight playoff series wins. But after the Islanders Dynasty ended, so did the tradition of the Playoff Beard, until the ‘95 New Jersey Devils have brought it back during their road to the Stanley Cup.
One of the greatest things about the playoff beard, is that you can judge a team’s and player’s postseason progress by the length and fullness of their facial hair. Well except for the case of Sidney Crosby who still looks like he is 16 years old.
The playoff beard has also moved on to the fans, who have started to grow out their beards until their team has been eliminated. Teams have used the beard as a rally cry like the Red Wings did last year with their slogan for the beginning of the ‘09 playoffs that claimed “The beard is back”, signifying another playoff run for Detroit. The beard has also found a friend with the playoff mullet worn and started in this past year’s playoffs by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.
There have been many epic playoff beards recently, some of the best are…..
1. Jean-Sebastian Giguere – Anaheim Ducks
2. Max Talbot – Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Mike Commodore – Carolina Hurricanes
4. Pascal Dupuis – Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Roberto Luongo – Vancouver Canucks
Congratulations to the Blackhawks for taking home the Cup, I’d like to thank both Chicago and Philadelphia for making it enjoyable to watch a bunch of grizzly adams, hit, shot, pass, skate and save with some of the best beards around. We salute you.