(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?
It’s Conference Final time, and every hockey fan knows it’s often a new guy, a third-liner or someone breaking out of a slump at just the right moment who becomes a playoff hero.
Each of the four teams left owe a great measure of success to such a player. We salute these remaining heroes - and their beards - for what they’ve achieved so far, and for helping their teams’ dreams of bearded glory live on.
Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
Another week won’t make much different for this beard, but we’re cutting the kid some slack. He’s been expending all his energy scoring goals like a boss. In five playoff games, Krug has scored four goals, all with finesse and all against one of the best goalies in the game. The young D-Man is slowly becoming a Boston sports legend in spite of his sad Casper beard.
While this unfortunate collection of chin hairs are definitely not up to our (impossibly high) beard standards, we see Torey’s potential.
The flow is working, the game is working and eventually some of that will rub off on his beard growing ability. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday Torey Krug will have a beard worth of the playoffs he’s having now.
Honorable Mention: David Krejci. The beard might but a little patchy, but his play in the playoffs has been more than robust. He leads the league with 17 points (5 G, 12 A) and +9 rating.
Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh Penguins
Not since the Three Little Pigs has someone so firmly used the hair of his chinny-chin-chin to slam the door on an intruder.
The Islanders huffed and puffed in Round 1, exposing every Penguins weakness and very nearly knocking their house down. Orpik’s Game 6 overtime series-winning goal was his first-ever playoff goal (in seven trips) and only his 12th career NHL goal (in 9 seasons). How’s that for a storybook rescue?
Brooks’ beard has made all current Penguins beards possible, and it’s had nothing to do for a week but grow ever more handsome and modest. Much like the man who wears it.
Honorable Mention: James Neal. We can’t talk about him every week (that’s a lie), but breaking out for five goals in two games makes that beard worth every word.
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
In the movies when someone loses it, he always grows a beard, moves to the woods and plots revenge. Hence we shall refer to the first four games of Round 2 as Brent Seabrook “going to the movies.” From the depths of the Hawks bench, this beard grew more squirrelly and unkempt as Seabs’ ice time dropped and Chicago’s situation worsened. Luckily for them, this beard had a plan. It waited, a little creepily maybe, for a disallowed Chicago goal late in the game to set the ultimate stage. Then it blasted home the Game 7 OT winner to complete a series turnaround worthy of not only Seabrook’s personal redemption, but that of his entire team.
No word if dripping all over Pierre McGuire in the all-time sweatiest postgame interview was part of said plan or just an added bonus.
Honorable Mention: Corey Crawford, method actor. He never breaks goalie character, even wearing a beard in the shape of his mask that is capable of stopping a few pucks on its own.
Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings
Justin Williams and his luscious facial follicles came through in a epic yet refined way for the Kings in Game 7 vs. San Jose - he scored both goals and looked effortless doing it.
While many of his teammates strive for burly bristles, Williams wears the finest of beards: elegant and sophisticated, aged to perfection and just waiting for that special occasion. It may not show off, but this beard knows when to show up.
Honorable Mention: Mike Richards. The Kings have made it through with just 26 goals scored (7th overall, behind 1: Pittsburgh, 2: Boston, 3: Chicago), and Richards has assists on 8 of those. If you assist on 31% of your team’s total offense, we won’t even ask you to shave your neck.