(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 BeardWatch every Thursday.)
By Chuck and Pants from What's Up, Ya Sieve?
The lockout took many things from us: games, All-Star festivities, the NHL Awards show awkwardness. Now fate has given something in return: a plethora of excellent playoff beards have made it to the Final. There are Beard of the Year vote-getters on both the Blackhawks and Bruins.
From Brandon Saad’s Rookie of the Beard to Nick Leddy and Brandon Bollig’s matching set, Chicago has it covered. Boston’s Andrew Ference and Patrice Bergeron wear the coffeehouse beards of thoughtful artists, while Johnny Boychuk morphs into the Bruins Bear one inch of neckbeard at a time. The little girl in the AT&T commercial asks, “What about infinity times infinity?” is clearly referring to Patrick Sharp’s handsomeness when his face is multiplied by his beard. Someone should show her how good Adam McQuaid looks.
Alas, there can be only one Beard of the Year. Last season we went for the biggest and baddest in Dustin Penner. With so many worthy candidates in 2013, we are choosing pure perfection.
BEARD OF THE YEAR: Johnny Oduya
Johnny Oduya hints at this beard year-round, like the blueprint for a theme park. This year he made good on his promise. In the first round, we saw construction begin.
By the start of Round 2, he was far ahead of the pack.
Even last year’s burly bearded LA Kings were outpaced in the Western Conference Final.
For the Stanley Cup Final, Oduya’s beard wanted to be sure it had every last minute to grow into full glory. So it sent Game 1 into Triple OT.
Now, four games into the Final, with at least two left to play, Johnny Oduya’s beard receives its rightful title: Beard of the Year.
Many beards run wild and messy over a journey to the Final, but Oduya’s just patiently fills in. It’s scientific. His beard collapses and increases in density like a star forming. It appears to be self-grooming as well - hitting just high enough on his cheeks, naturally stopping short of the neckbeard line. It’s black as night and perfectly anchored to his sideburns. Truth and beauty - this is the beard of the future.
You could say this beard is felting itself, if you’re into knitting. You’re probably not. Just think of a lawn, well kept and sown, until it transcends a common yard to become worthy of the new infield at Wrigley. That is Oduya’s beard.
Other players have done their best. Some came close. Many went for it regardless - the only way Patrick Kane could get a beard like this is if he passed out at a frat party and someone drew it on his face with a marker. As always, we applaud the enthusiasm of all who take up our favorite playoff tradition with 2013 Beard of the Year Honorable Mentions:
Blackhawks - Corey Crawford
It’s a shame he wears a mask all the time, because there’s a special version Beard of the Year crown designed to sit atop a goalie helmet. Instead, Corey is designing his own custom equipment with a beard so full and thick it doubles as padding for his face. It’s the goalkeeper equivalent of stuffing your football uniform with Charmin.
Bruins - Jaromir Jagr
As our friend Shannon S. said, “Props to the man who made his sideburns meet under his nose.” In a year when no one went for weird (intentionally), Jagr made them glad they didn’t bother trying. He even did the unthinkable - Jags shaved. Before the Cup Final! Just a little at the chin, removing the gray section he rocked during the ECF. Then he dyed the rest of it black. This flagrant flouting of the playoff beard rules alarms us, but the result is so... dastardly. Rebellious. Maybe some rules are made to be broken after all.
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