The NHL Playoffs are rich with tradition. The Stanley Cup is sport's most storied prize. The display of sportsmanship in the post series handshakes is unparalleled amongst professional athletes in other leagues. Above all else, hockey players grow playoff beards better than anybody in the world.
Over the course of the two month grind of the NHL Playoffs these men will be focused on one thing and one thing only; hoisting the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately for the spouses and loved ones of these players, that means they will pay little attention to the mess of hair accumulating on their faces.
Of course, it takes more than sheer mass to make a terrific playoff beard. In a lot of cases the man makes the beard.
So without further ado, here are the top 25 playoff beards the NHL has ever witnessed. Enjoy.
The 2010 NHL Playoffs were a rebirth for Ville Leino. He was instrumental in the deep postseason for the Philadelphia Flyers.
In addition to his terrific play, Leino grew one of the best beards of the decade. This beard transforms him from an innocent Finish man to an intimidating force on the wing for the Broad Street Bullies.
Given Roberto Luongo's struggles in the postseason, it makes sense that he would pull out all of the stops in regards to getting good fortune on his side.
Unfortunately for the Vancouver Canucks, there has been little correlation between the amount of facial hair Luongo has and postseason success.
Tomas Holmstrom has four Stanley Cups and the ability to grow an epic playoff beard. Coincidence? I think not.
Holmstrom has the look of a man who left everything on the ice each and every game of the playoffs, including his razor.
Donald Brashear was an instrumental intimidating force for the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2004.
However, he wouldn't have been nearly as intimidating if not for the fact that there was more hair on his face than on his head.
Two things Dan Cleary has going for him in this photo; the beard matches his jersey and it is complemented by hockey's most prized possession.
Erik Cole's play as a rookie in 2002 was shocking enough. When you add to it the fact that he was able to grow a playoff beard like the one pictured above, he established himself as a legend.
Jamie Macoun had a well rounded defensive game during his 17 seasons in the NHL.
His ability to grow facial hair was also fairly well rounded. Throughout his lengthy career, Macoun grew a mustache, a goatee, and the full beard you see above. The guy was good.
Throughout this decade, Todd Bertuzzi has grown a series of wonderful beards during the postseason.
Within the playoff months, Bertuzzi has had the ability to transform from a respectable looking gentleman, to a scary looking enforcer.
This list does not discriminate against those who only grow their facial hair on the upper lip.
I'm not going to say that Parros's mustache was the reason the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, but it certainly didn't hurt.
Not only is Henrik Zetterberg accompanied by many of his fellow countrymen on this, there are also a handful of other Red Wings on here as well.
Zetterberg is also seamlessly able to combine thick golden beard with marvelous dirty blonde locks; a deadly combination.
Bret Hedican is the prototypical veteran journeyman that is essential to a Stanley Cup run. His leadership and poise were as valuable as his illustrious mess of facial hair.
The Nashville Predators may have just finished up round one of the NHL Playoffs, but Shea Weber's playoff beard is in full swing.
If the Predator's continue this run, Weber coud make a push to be at the very top of this list. If his dominant blue line play wasn't enough to strike fear into opponents, the continued growth of his beard will be.
If you think Pascal Dupuis's luscious beard had nothing to do with the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup, you're out of your mind.
Dos Dupuis even have a face underneath that mess? Wow.
Nothing like a family photo with the Stanley Cup. These kids are lucky to have both a father and an uncle who were willing to put their testosterone on display for the sake of bringing home the trophy.
Rob's beard was not quite as glorious as Scott's, but that was a common theme in the Niedermayer family.
Maxime Talbot gets a slight edge over his teammate Pascal Dupuis due to his incorporation of hockey hair.
We all know that a playoff beard gives a man an edge, but combining it with flow like that makes a player damn near unstoppable.
Rarely do we see a Conn Smythe winner without a smile on his face.
However, none of us can imagine how itchy that beard must be for Giguere. Of course, the fact that he didn't win the Stanley Cup that year didn't help either.
It truly is a shame that the New York Rangers never went deep into the playoffs with Paul Mara on their roster. There is no telling what that beast on his face could have become if they would have made any sort of run.
Growing a playoff beard: So easy a caveman can do it.
One would never be able to tell that Scott Hartnell is actually a relatively articulate man, considering his pre historic outer appearance.
The combination of facial hair and hockey hair is nothing more than a complete mess. Yet, it's awesome.
Kris Draper's beard is clearly well groomed, which keeps him from topping this list.
However, the fact that his beard perfectly matches the Detroit Red Wings sweater he has graced for so many years, earns him a spot in the top five.
The St. Louis Blues may have been swept out of the first round of the playoffs, but that did not stop Chris Mason from showing off one of the best beard's in NHL history.
There is literally not a hair on this guy's head, yet he has enough hair on his face to more than make up for his bald dome.
I would be remise if I did not pay homage to one of the founding father's of the playoff beard.
Lanny's beard is matching his sweater, he is hoisting the Cup, and his mustache is raging just as much, if not more than the rest of his beard. This guy just looks like a Stanley Cup champion.
Since Martin Brodeur and Patrick Elias did not have the testosterone to grow respectable playoff beards, Ken Daneyko was forced to grow enough of a beard for the three of them.
Personally, I think Daneyko grew enough of a beard for the entire New Jersey Devils organization with that mess.
Oh, and the missing teeth only add to the beauty.
Scott Niedermayer is rocking the vintage "salt and pepper" beard, and doing so with style.
Niedermayer is one of the greatest defenseman of this generation, and his ability to grow a beard has plenty to do with the amount of hardware this guy has.
Ken Morrow and the New York Islanders of the early 1980's are credited with the start of the playoff beard tradition. Ken Morrow was the poster child of this movement, and for good reason.
Morrow had both an outrageous amount of facial hair, and the hardware to back it up. Let's give credit where credit is due, but...
Despite the greatness of those that came before him, Mike Commodore tops this list with an outrageous combination of afro and beard.
Honestly, I am at a loss for words when I look at this picture. I think his lack of regard for his physical appearance speaks for itself.
In addition, Commodore has the Stanley Cup ring to go with it.
Feel free to comment on any great beards I may have missed.
Also, follow me on twitter @MatthewFairburn for my thoughts on all things hockey!