(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 rate playoff beards after each round.)
By Chuck and Pants from What's Up, Ya Sieve?
In a year when the Los Angeles Kings needed the most games ever to win the Stanley Cup, we read the record books a bit differently. The more games played, the longer beards are grown.
So thanks to those 26 games, the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs yielded some epic beards.
You don’t have to win the Cup to win Beard of the Year, and the Rangers came close to stealing this one. If we were nice girls, we’d give it to Brad Richards because he needs something positive to happen. It could easily have gone to either of the Moores (Dominic or John) or Henrik Lundqvist because he is a candidate for every award ever.
If they hadn’t run into to the Kings, the Rangers could have won the Cup. And they definitely would have won Beard of the Year.
The Kings, though. Counted out any number of times (or exactly four vs. San Jose because no one makes that comeback), they were tracking as the odds-on beard favorites from day one. If we’ve learned anything from their two Cup victories, it seems like when the Kings want to win they just do it, like a machine.
A laser focused, beautifully bearded hockey machine
Best Performance By a Beard You Could Wear Everyday: Alec Martinez. Not satisfied to be the hero of just one OT series-win, Martinez earned himself top spot in this beard highlight reel with this Stanley Cup winning double OT goal. If this isn’t Wil Wheaton’s Christmas Card, with slightly photoshopped face, he can take us off the mailing list.
Hardest Working Beard in Showbiz: Justin Williams. Was there ever really any doubt that this man and this beard would win the Conn Smythe? From the beginning, Williams’ lush look was a true reflection of the guts, glory and the gravitas of a real NHL veteran.
Best Face for Faceoffs: Jarret Stoll. He could do your taxes. He could fix your brakes or teach you about bear safety at the campground. This is the beard of a trustworthy man who shows up and just gets the job done. And did he ever.
The Wild, the Wooly and Wonderful - Willie Mitchell and Anze Kopitar. There is a certain devious glee to Willie Mitchell’s beard, forever enhanced by his fantastic hair. He just looks like he’s up to something mischevious and we totally want to be a part of it.
Anze Kopitar’s facial hair is consistently unusual: curly and not really any color we’ve seen before. It grows where it wants, even around toward the back of his neck, but who cares when you play like Kopitar does? He’s having the most fun out there, which is really saying something on this team.
We could go on for days and days about the Kings’ beards, and may well go on all summer. Matt Greene, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King - there was nary a King who wasn’t up to playoff scruff inspection.
Some beards will be gone today, some tomorrow, but there is one that we will truly miss the most.
Beard of the Year: Jeff Carter
It’s blond. It’s burly. As The Royal Half said, it looks great in hallways. Jeff Carter’s beard is what playoff beards are all about: winning, revenge, not caring if you’re too handsome to grow a beard then discovering you might be even more handsome with one.
In 360-degrees, with teeth or without, Jeff Carter was Best in Beard this season.
Congratulations to him and the Kings, to 26 wins and all those days spent making sure we knew exactly how good this beard could be.