Stanley Cup Beard Watch: Greatest scruff in the final four (and some gappers)

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(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?

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Greetings from the Pit of Despair, where both of our teams lost in Round 2 in Game 7 heartbreakers. As if that were not harsh enough, the boys of Pittsburgh and Boston shaved their beards before our tears were even dry.

Are we the only ones who love these looks? Is the playoff beard such a badge of honor that it must be immediately removed upon loss, like throwing yourself on your sword?

Have a heart, hockey teams. At least mark the beards’ passing with before-and-after Instagrams.

Asking us to rate beards from the teams that beat us is devastatingly unfair, but we are serious, objective hockey “journalists” and so must stitch ourselves up on the bench and never miss a shift.

Eastern Conference Final: Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

The Rangers made it to the ECF thanks in large part to the leadership - bearded and otherwise - of Martin St. Louis. His delightfully salt-and-pepper facial hair adds gravitas and a certain “This doesn’t happen every year!” reminder.

Rick Nash, whose beard we usually enjoy, needs to somehow focus that energy on putting the puck in the net with his mind. Telekinesis may be his only option at this point. Perhaps he should look to Derick Brassard for inspiration: four goals against Pittsburgh and a respectable, closely- cropped beard. We are glad see Brian Boyle, a.k.a. Inigo Montoya, return if only because our live weekly reenactment of “The Princess Bride” really needs more swashbuckling.

And always standing at the back is Henrik Lundqvist, whose heroics reminded us he’s practically perfect in every way - even aiming his water bottle.

The Canadiens come into the ECF riding high on the defeat of their bitter and brilliantly bearded rivals, the Bruins. Scruffy standouts include Max Pacioretty, who is too far exotically tall, dark and handsome to be from Connecticut (sidebar: Pants’ can say this, her husband is from CT) and David Desharnais, who always looks like he doesn’t care he just overslept.

Montreal’s top marks go to Dale Weise for a beard/eyebrow combo so sinister and mocking that we understand how it would enrage Milan Lucic.

We always forget that Danny Briere is on the Habs… until he sets up a beauty of a goal and we see his wispy baby beard. Good thing for him that he’s a playoff point machine because his beard game is pretty much zero.

Western Conference Final: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Just yesterday, Jonathan Toews confessed he was sure he’d have his beard going by now [link]. He called it “a state of denial” but admitted, with just a hint of a grin, that the Wolverine is the way it’s going to be. And we rejoice.

While the Hawks biggest names might be have-nots (facial hair category only), their core squad is an embarrassment of bearded riches. Corey Crawford’s neck beard is so plush and reliable it’s going to become standard equipment for goalies. It stops itself just shy of the line - even the beard doesn’t dare try to get past Crow. They can afford to healthy-scratch a beard as respectable as Nick Leddy’s, who looks like he spends weekends renting canoes and buying bulk quinoa at Whole Foods.

As Oduya continues to pelt up for the brunettes against burgeoning strawberry blonds like Kane and Bickell, there’s one main reason the Blackhawks won Round 2. New guy Peter Regin filled in for suspended Brandon Bollig and delivered. Will that earn him the ice time to fill in this one last bald spot?

The Kings/Ducks Battle of SoCal did its duty - to be as bearded as possible for as long as possible. That the more bearded team lost punches holes in our Corsi rating, which we have renamed the Coarsey and applied to grading playoff beards. (It makes about as much sense as it ever did for stats.) The Kings’ confidence and beards continue to grow, but don’t let that fool you. LA could make anyone self-conscious.

Even Mr. Game 7, Justin Williams and Mike “Best Trade Ever” Richards wonder why they can’t have beards like Marian Gaborik.

It’s so full and low, waiting to ambush the rest of his face. Is it some kind of ground-sweeping radar, finding space on the ice and holes in goaltender stances? If this series goes long, and requires more flights to Chicago, Gabby will be able to sleep sitting up with his face resting on his beard.

As the Hawks need a patch for Peter Regin’s temple, the Kings have a spot-job as well. Drew Doughty, committed to letting the beard grow where it may, comes up a little shy on the left side of his mustache. Perhaps another round will fill this in. Perhaps Drew will just spend the games reminding Toews’ that at least he has a mustache.

And so the Beard of the Year field is narrowed down to four teams. Will we have new contenders for the final showdown, or perhaps a repeat for the title? With our personal favorite teams out of the running, it all just makes for good TV now. Grow on, gentlemen.


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