The tradition of the playoff beard is alive and well, from the guys skating in the 2013 NHL playoffs all the way down to the most minor of leagues across North America and Europe.
If I went down to watch a Cincinnati Cyclones game at U.S. Bank Arena, I'd see three rounds worth of playoff beards. Within the next week or so, players in the NHL will start showing off the beginnings of what they hope to be monstrous manscapes.
Just like anything else in life, there are good playoff beards and then there are great ones. Here are 10 of the best from the last decade, in no particular order. Ranking these beards and making one of them No. 10 just doesn't seem fair.
Henrik Zetterberg has taken to sporting his facial hair throughout the regular season as well, but now that he's led the Detroit Red Wings to the playoffs for the 22nd straight season, it magically becomes a playoff beard.
This photo is from 2009, before Zetterberg was even wearing an "A" for the Red Wings.
There are few players in the NHL that are just as well-known for their hair style and beard as their play out on the ice. Mike Commodore might be one of the select members of that elite club.
His big red machine of a beard might be about as legendary with Carolina Hurricanes fans as his play during the run to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
Has anyone gained more notoriety recently for their playoff beards? Aside from Sidney Crosby's dirtstache, Scott Hartnell might be one of the more famous faces from the NHL.
Like Henrik Zetterberg, he's taken to growing his facial hair during the regular season, but the thing takes on a life of its own in the playoffs.
Don't feel too sorry for J.S. Giguere. This depressing photo is from 2003, when the netminder spearheaded the (then) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to a series of upsets prior to losing to the New Jersey Devils in an epic seven-game series.
Giggy took home the wrong hardware, winning the Conn Smythe instead of the Cup that year, hence the sad, sad look.
He would later go on to hoist the Stanley Cup with the (now) Anaheim Ducks, so the look of dejection didn't last forever.
Brent Burns gets onto the list based on his potential alone.
Considering the damage the sometimes-forward, sometimes-defenseman managed to do with his highly publicized lockout beard, just a week or two of growth into the 2013 playoffs should cement him firmly in the good company of these fellow beard-growers.
Don't be alarmed, it's just Tim Thomas.
If he looks like he just crawled out of an underground bunker somewhere, it's because he probably just did.
Conspiracy theories aside, Thomas rocked a pretty mean beard throughout the Stanley Cup run for the Boston Bruins in 2011. He also won the Conn Smythe at the ripe old age of 37, making him the oldest player to ever take home the trophy.
Any list of best beards would be remiss in leaving out defenseman Paul Mara. He's had several different incarnations of the beard, but his go-to seems to be the Galifianakis.
Is there a more appropriate beard than that of Kris Draper? His vivid red hair just meshes wonderfully with the red and white of the winged wheel, making the trade from the Winnipeg Jets for a dollar make a bit more sense.
It was obviously beard-fate.
The longtime Detroit Red Wing had ample chance to grow this bad boy out every year as he won four Stanley Cups with the team.
Maxime Talbot was a key cog for the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2009 when they won the Stanley Cup. Whether he was taking a key faceoff or scoring both goals in the Cup-clinching game, Talbot was sporting a mean beard while doing so.
If you Google the words "grizzled veteran," photos of Scott Niedermayer pop up all over the place. OK, maybe not, but it should be a picture from the smooth-skating defender's Stanley Cup run from 2007.
This beard has it all, and you'd have to look far and wide for a better one.
Lanny McDonald doesn't count either, as he has not played within the last decade.