(Ed. Note: We're proud to welcome back 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?
Do playoff beards hold power?
Some (like us) say they do. Regardless of your superstitions, the tradition and legend of the playoff beard is not to be taken lightly. In these early days of the 2013 Playoffs, a few teams have already come out strong. Will their hirsute efforts be enough to get them to the Cup?
Here are our NHL power rankings, based solely on beards, for this year’s playoffs so far:
1. San Jose Sharks
So the Sharks got a head start. Who cares? Beards have to get up early if they want to outdo Brent Burns. Pucks, natural light and Vancouver’s hopes and dreams get lost in that thing. Joe Thornton‘s always sporting a turf that would take most mortal men months to grow and Dan Boyle’s distinguished salt & pepper look landed him on the Cosmopolitan list of Hottest Hockey Players of the 2013 Playoffs. Even Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are trying to wish beards into existence (and coming up with points instead). Demonstrating superior unshaven-ness, no wonder the Sharks are the first team to advance to Round Two.
2. Los Angeles Kings
Last season, the Kings were our undisputed Beard Watch winners long before reaching the finals. They’re off to a more rule-abiding beginning than San Jose, but their burgeoning beards have unmatched potential. The virulent masculinity of Penner’s grizzled mop will soon be a pair of camo waders away from appearing on “Duck Dynasty.” Jeff Carter and Mike Richards’ symbiotic beards will nurture each other to matching volume and sheen. Drew Doughty’s cheeks will grow to meet his chin and promisingly scruffy Robyn Regehr brings a new beard to the Kings’ blueline.
3. Detroit Red Wins
When you’ve made the playoffs 22 seasons in a row, you’re bound to know a thing or two about growing beards. Zetterbeard is the Red Wings resident ace and we’ve all seen Bertuzzi get burly. Johan Franzen can be counted on to deliver a beard so ginger beard it links to his red helmet like a veritable facemask. Their new mix of young talent has potential too - if the Red Wings roll, expect playoff first-timer Jakub Kindl to be the most bearded of them all.
4. Chicago Blackhawks
You can’t win everything all the time, okay? Johnny Oduya’s beard is perfectly mapped out on his face, like Sim City waiting to be populated, but the rest of Chicago’s citizens are going to be a while. The Amish doesn’t come easy for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane has committed to his mullet priorities. Brent Seabrook, Michal Rozsíval and Nick Leddy are showing early progress, plus Patrick Sharp will have a handsome something going on soon.
5. Minnesota Wild
If Instagram was worth $1 billion, Cal Clutterbuck’s hipster hair and beard combo is priceless. When not on the ice, it’s waiting for you in a coffee shop downtown, listening to Mumford & Sons while reading a beat up copy of On the Road. Stylistically, this is enough to put the Wild on any list. In his wake, 21-year old rookie Jason Zucker is showing thatch beyond his years.
1. Washington Capitals
With Alex Ovechkin fully committed to both hockey and his chinstrap goatee this season, the Caps have a leg up on previous performances. Karl Alzner should be unleashing the fury of his fuzz any moment now and Mike Green has proven perfectly willing to cover that pretty face with a terrifying display of beard disarray. In net, Braden Holtby’s neckbeard/mask extension is well on its way to linking up with his chest.
2. Boston Bruins
Much like the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run, this going to be a slow build. We all know the potential is there, with Chara and his BAMFB beard undoubtedly leading the way. Bergeron, Seidenberg, and Jagr will all be in the mix, but our money is on David Krecji. His just-started beard is already imbued with magical playoff point gathering powers (5 G, 10 points in 4 games). Imagine what he can produce when that bastion of power comes in.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
Quick-grow artists like Pascal Dupuis give the Penguins strong prospects, and we’re standing by to be mesmerized by the confusing glory of James Neal’s Mysteriously Ginger Beard. Kris Letang, aka the Disney Prince, even shaved clean for a fresh start. Still, not all the Pens should take up this cause. Crosby may grace the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, but “the most amazing thing about the most amazing player” is definitely not his beard.
4. New York Rangers
You know that any facial hair sported by this team will be foxy... when it gets growing. Right now, most Rangers are showing us their patchy, tired, huddled whiskers yearning to be beards. Nash got a jump start to motivate his teammates and Lundqvist probably saves hours a day letting his manicured scruff grow in. (Just kidding. He doesn’t have to try.) But everyone else - Stepan, Callahan, Girardi - is just getting started.
5. New York Islanders
Brian Strait could sail this boat himself with his accumulation of ebony perfection, but we’re holding out hope for John Tavares. Have you heard him speak? “Hello, and welcome to Moviefone?” Between his bushy eyebrows and that baritone voice, we know there’s a man-tastic beard just waiting to make it’s playoff debut.