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NHL Playoff Beard Watch: Who was that masked man? Admiring the goalie beard

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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(Ed. Note: We're proud to welcome two of our favorite bloggers, Chuck and Pants from What's Up, Ya Sieve?, to the Puck Daddy fold as they author our weekly NHL Playoff Beard Watch every Thursday.)


By Chuck and Pants from What's Up, Ya Sieve?

There are a lot of things goalies do that normal people can't (like splits) or wouldn't (like stand in front of a 100 mph slapshot).

So should it really come as a surprise when they take playoff beards to the next level?

Grow a hairshirt on your face?  Sure, everybody's doing it. Then put a mask over it and volunteer for the NHL's version of the Hunger Games? Best idea ever.

We love goalie masks. Those perfectly formed pieces of fiberglass and kevlar protect the mugs of our favorite netminders, while showing off a little personality. But we hate them at the same time.

Is it too much to ask to show us your face every once in awhile?  

For those of us who've never worn a beard, the idea of sporting one under a heavy, sweaty mask seems medieval. But if you're already getting pounded by discs of vulcanized rubber and 200-pound forwards, what's a little itching?  Our admiration lives on.

Here's a look at facial finery (or lack thereof) of some of the goalies left standing in the NHL Playoffs.

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Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

When you are 6-5 and look like a Nordic god (or Eric Northman, as one very astute reader pointed out), a beard is not high on your list of priorities. You're too busy trying to find pants long enough and convince your neighbors that you are not going to pillage their vegetable garden. But the beard is there -- just give it some time. The five-game series vs the Red Wings wasn't nearly enough to get it going.

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Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

Holtby can grow some artful facial hair. He can also grow a beard like a facemask you'd wear for skiing -- right down your neck and tuck it into your sweater. That's pretty manly for a rookie. While we're not fans of the neckbeard, Holtby's scruff stood against the defending Stanley Cup Champions to deliver his team through a record-setting seven one-goal games. That earns a free pass. If the Capitals play the Rangers in Round 2, maybe Holts can look down the ice for beard grooming tips from...

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Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

A lot of things are unfair about King Henrik, namely that he covers that face with a mask. But it's also unfair to disqualify him simply because he puts mortals and Muggles alike to shame. While Lundqvist is often sporting a expertly manscaped five o'clock shadow, last year he promised to grow a full and bushy playoff beard, "because I can." The Rangers didn't make it past the first round. Only tonight's game will tell if Lundqvist gets to deliver - and remember, a gentleman always makes good on his promises.

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Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes

Ugh. Our nerdiness fails us when it comes to Mike Smith. He is the Kobayashi Maru — the unbeatable, no-win situation from Star Trek that requires a completely new approach to a problem. So why is his beard so Next Generation, so Captain Riker?

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Are we out-dorking ourselves here? No. Instead we are the Borg, assimilating two sets of knowledge into the hive mind. Resistance is futile. Best of luck to the Nashville Predators as they enlist in Starfleet Academy.

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Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

Hi. I'm Jonathan Quick. No time for beard. Busy shaming Sedin Twins. Now onto St. Louis!

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Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers

If Bryz shaved every time the opposing team scored three or more goals, he was shaving almost every game in Round 1. But a win is a win is a win, and if we had to choose a net to stand in, we'd like to have the Flyers team in front of us. We're not sure how Bryz feels about "humangous big" beards, but if he can hold it together in the crease he might get the chance to show us -- or at least let us see Scotty Hartnell's.

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Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Martin Brodeur has played in nineteen NHL seasons. He has gone to the playoffs seventeen times. He has three Stanley Cups, four Vezinas and five Jennings trophies. He doesn't need a beard. He's focused on winning game seven tonight and another Cup before he retires. Then he can grow a beard and admire his reflection in all that shiny hardware.

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Jose Theodore, Florida Panthers

We know the Panthers have their rats, but is it too late to start throwing direwolves onto the ice?  

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Theodore has always been a fashionable guy, and this season's icon is Game of Thrones' Jon Snow. Theodore has the cold, the ice and now this beard. He even has a dragon tattoo (uh, spoiler alert?). Summer is coming... but not yet if the Panthers make it through game seven tonight.

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