Stanley Cup Playoffs: 25 Greatest Playoff Beards in Playoff History

Rob KirkCorrespondent IIMay 29, 2012

Stanley Cup Playoffs: 25 Greatest Playoff Beards in Playoff History

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    Ok, so there are literally thousands of articles about the beards of the NHL and the playoffs. This article will attempt to separate itself from the masses by going outside of the box a little bit.

    There are some beards that absolutely must appear on any and every list. Hopefully I've discovered a few that you have either never seen before or had forgotten/blocked out of your memory.

    It's a tradition that is attributed to the NHL and specifically its playoffs, but it has definitely overflowed into other mainstream sports as well.

    Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants marketed his burly, black beard ad nauseum during and after his team's World Series triumph in 2010. Brett Keisel of the Pittsburgh Steelers may well own the title of "King of Beards" for his inspirational growth to inspire the Steelers' return to the playoffs.

    There is nothing like the National Hockey League original, though. Turning on a hockey game in May means that you are going to see some of the best athletes on the planet displaying some of the worst grooming habits. With each seven-game series comes another level of growth.

    By the time the playoffs reach June, the NHL's most prominent employees look like wayward lumberjacks and escaped felons.

    Adam Oates famously said that the playoff beard only works for one out of 16 teams, while he refused to grow his beard. However, there isn't a team out there that won't take those odds for a chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

    I don't necessarily have any particular ranking for my list of beards. I'll let the awesomeness of each wash over you and allow you to choose your own favorite. Some of these beards come pictured with a Stanley Cup, but they are all winners in my book.

    Enjoy!

Why Do They Look Like Hobos and Miscreants? Because It's the Cup!

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    I've heard compelling discussion about when the tradition started—the Islanders of the 1980s dynasty, or the 1995 Stanley Cup run of the New Jersey Devils? Both make sense.

    The Oilers dynasty that immediately followed the Islanders were all too young to grow beards. This was true of almost every team that lifted Lord Stanley between 1983 and 1995.

    Regardless of when or who began the tradition, it has become synonymous with playoff hockey among players, fans and even other leagues. So put down your razor for a minute and look on with envy at some of the finest follicular entries of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Paul Mara

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    Paul Mara actually claimed that he had to trim this pile of hair every two to three days to "keep it under control." One can only wonder what it could have looked like. Sigh.

    Photo courtesy of hockeychump.com

Scott Hartnell

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    Scott Hartnell is one hairy dude. I'm hard pressed to determine where the hair ends and the beard begins...or is it the other way around?

    Rumor has it that Hartnell like to keep the beard full and robust in case there is a #Hartnelldown situation to cushion a potential face plant.

Kris Draper

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    "Gingerbeard" doesn't exactly bring terror to one's heart if it were a name for a pirate. But since it's four-time Stanley Cup winner Kris Draper, we must give respect to the beard.

     

    Photo courtesy of hockeyworldblog.com

Lanny McDonald

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    Lanny McDonald gets bonus points for rocking this sick soup-strainer year round. But come playoff time, Lanny would release the Kraken-like fury of flaming red hair from the rest of his face. He tops the charts on everyone else's list and could be the best on mine.

    I just choose to revel in Lanny's mustache mastery earlier in my list.

Chris Mason

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    Chris Mason's career took a down turn when he left the St. Louis Blues for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets. It may or may not have had something to do with Mason's decision to shave off this masterpiece of a beard.

Mike Commodore

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    NASCAR country meets the Stanley Cup circa 2006. This Miller Lite can is for YOU, Cane Nation!

    Mike Commodore has many photos of his flaming red tresses attached to that manly masterpiece of a beard, but I think this picture captures the essence of playoff hockey at it's non-mainstream-market best.

The Neidermeyers

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    If the Bee Gees were named as the "Brothers Gibb" then the Neidermeyer boys should be called the Bee Nees. Their sultry, stylish facial moss comes in regular or salt and pepper.

Zdeno Chara

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    Because being 6'9" didn't make this guy terrifying enough?

Maxime Talbot

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    Max Talbot used the strength of his sturdy scruff to score the Game 7 Stanley Cup winner for the Penguins in 2009.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

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    Anaheim netminder J-S Giguere led the Ducks to 15 wins in the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. Unfortunately, you need 16 for the Stanley Cup. His effort earned him the Conn Smythe award as the playoffs' most valuable player/world's worst consolation prize. Can't blame the beard for the loss.

    Don't feel too bad for Giggy. He would summon the power of the beard to hoist the Stanley Cup with the 2007 Anaheim champs.

Tim Thomas

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    Extra points for any goaltender growing the beard. The comfort level has to be awful. In spite of the extra 48.3 lbs of fur on his neck and face, Tim Thomas won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe in last year's Stanley Cup Final.

Ken Morrow

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    A defenseman with the Islanders for their four consecutive titles in the early 1980s, Morrow was nicknamed "Wolfman" for his lumberjack growth.

    Morrow's career was cut short due to recurring knee injuries so severe, not even the excess testosterone generated by his beard could overcome them.

Bill Flett

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    Two things you need to know about "Cowboy" Bill Flett:

    1. He was an actual rodeo cowboy and was threatened with a $1000 fine for every rodeo he performed in while he was playing for the Los Angeles Kings.

    2. Flett led the Edmonton Oilers in goal scoring the year before Wayne Gretzky arrived on the scene.

    Cowboy Bill rode off into the big sunset in the sky in July of 1999 due to liver failure. He certainly made the world a better place with his historically awesome beard.

Radko Gudas

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    Want to know why the Tampa Bay Lightning really missed the playoffs? It had nothing to do with shoddy goaltending and poor defensive play.

    Failing to call up Radko Gudas for the playoff push has to be considered GM Steve Yzerman's biggest error to date. Not only does Gudas possess one of the better names in all of hockey, that beard of his is magnificent.

Shea Weber

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    Weber's musky beard makes him look like a ferocious gladiator ready to dominate any opponent.

    It also makes him look like the type of dude that would make me discreetly lock the door to my car if he came within 15 feet of me.

Henrik Zetterberg

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    Legend has it that Zetterberg's beard once ran into a burning Swedish high-rise building to save a basket of kittens. OK, that actually makes no sense—there's no high-rise buildings in Sweden.

Sidney Crosby

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    Just kidding.....

Sidney Crosby.... No, Really

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    This is my entry for the "I think I can, I think I can" beard-growing award. Seriously, Gretzky never tried to grow a beard and nobody really cared.

    I'll give the kid credit for trying, even though he knows it looks bad.

Danny Briere

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    Danny Briere receives the nomination for the "Zorro" playoff beard. All that is missing is a mask, some black Cooperalls and a sensational Spanish accent.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Jagr's 2012 effort is this year's nominee for the prestigious, "I don't care what you were trying to do, just don't do it again; knock it off" award. By claiming that he was just trying to shave the gray out of his beard, Jagr ended up looking like a space villain from the 1980s or the upside-down flag for the state of Arizona.

    Cut it out, Jags. You're better than that.

Jonathan Toews

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    I was going to crop the Stanley Cup out of this picture. In fairness, the Stanley Cup had Toews cropped out of its photo because of his "beard." This is Toews nomination for "Pork Chops: The other white meat/attempt at growing a real beard" award.

    If Chicago wants to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, Toews might want to consider rocking the "chops" all year long.

Scott Parker

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    I remember, when he was a member of the Avalanche, Scott Parker's mountain of man-muff mixing it up with my Red Wings in their epic playoff encounters. Ironically, Parker had a reputation as a super nice guy off the ice in spite of his scary biker appearance.

Dustin Penner

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    For someone who was considered a bust in Los Angeles, Penner has made quite a name for himself as he approaches free agency.

    Not to be outdone, Penner's beard is reportedly looking for a deal in the ballpark of four years and $28 million.

Jeff Carter and Mike Richards

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    I've had these two in many a slide before, so why not again? The two Kings forwards enjoyed a Dodger game Sunday before they head to the Rock for Wednesday's Game 1.

    With these two cats cloaking their faces with such luscious cabbage, the Kings will be tough to beat in the finals.