TAMPA – Jason Garrison’s beard looks like a steel wool scouring pad mated with a small black bear.
“This is the longest I’ve gone with it. It’s not too bad,” he said on Tuesday, stroking his whiskers, tempting fate he might lose a finger.
Garrison’s beard was flagged in the Eastern Conference Final Beard Watch as the one “that could win the whole thing.” He claims, for the most part, the thicket remains untouched.
“I’ve just trimmed around the lips. That’s about it,” he said.
Garrison also relies on his friends to help with the upkeep. And by that we mean, ‘Yo, dude, you totally have guacamole in your beard. And we didn’t even eat that tonight.’
“I have good support from my buddies when we go out to eat. They always tell me if there’s anything stuck in there,” he said.
Has he cheated at all with the growing of this beard?
“No dye. No Just For Men,” said Garrison.
C’mon, Jason – have you cheated at all with this beard?
“I did cheat. I started in March. The last time I was in the playoffs and I didn’t cheat, it didn’t go so well. So I wanted to not recreate that situation,” he said.
OK, that’s fine. Sometimes you need a little more runway before takeoff.
Owning potentially the best beard in the playoffs, we wondered which one of Garrison’s Lightning teammates would qualify has having the worst playoff beard.
Captain Steven Stamkos?
“Stammer’s beard is actually pretty good,” said Garrison. “It’s blonde, so if you were to put some dark highlights it would probably be pretty good.
“But there are definitely much worst beards on our team.”
OK, so someone else then?
“Andrej Sustr. That’s a tough one," said Garrison.
Sustr threw some shade on Garrison's un-shaven face.
"He got an early start. I started on Day 1. You've got to put that in the equation too. He's got a bit of a head start. If we started at the same time, it wouldn't be a close call." he said.
"I'm struggling. I'm working with what I've got. But I'm happy to keep it for the next two weeks."
s/t Arpon Basu for the help.