As I get older, the idioms and sage advice my father gave me as a kid start to ring true. He predicted this would happen. Scrolling through social media I see yet another ad for “beard oil” of some sort. I lament how hipsters have ruined everything from the price of Pabst Blue Ribbon, to having tattoos, when one of my Dad’s golden gems pops into my head. It wasn’t his, I don’t think. He was quoting someone, though I can’t for the life of me remember who.

Dad said, “Why would a man cultivate on his face what grows wildly on his ass?” Having served in Vietnam, Dad was not a fan of beards, though he did have a sweet 1970’s moustache (there are family photos to prove this!). I’m not a fan of beards either, mostly because I can’t grow one. I do however make an exception for one very special time of year: the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So, I present to you the Best Beards of The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First – some ground rules. Your default setting cannot be “beard” (sorry, Brent Burns). Second – your team needs to make it at least to the end of the 2nd round (sorry Braden Holtby, you don’t meet either criteria).

 

Zdeno Chara

I’m not sure what is more impressive, 21 seasons in the league or the fact that he is 7 feet tall when wearing skates? There is not a person in the league that doesn’t look up to Big Z… literally. Can you imagine looking up and seeing nothing but the bottom of this beard?

 

Justin Williams

Mister Game 7 lived up to his name with the primary assist on the GWG in the 1st Round. The OT goal that sent the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals home early on their quest to repeat. The Canes damn near rode that momentum all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Alex Pietrangelo

The Blues have several players with impressive facial hair, but from what I gather they are more frequently “beard” than “not beard” guys, so I give the nod to Pietrangelo here. He might be a “scruff” guy, but he’s put in some effort for the playoffs. This is, in part, a longevity award. You can’t make it to the SCF and not have someone from your team on the list.

 

Joe Thornton

I realize we’re getting into a “gray area” here! (Goodnight folks… I’ll see myself out). Joe has been a beard guy for a few years, then he shaved it to start the 2018 season, and at some point, he started growing it back. It’s an impressive beard. Almost as impressive as his propensity to give shirtless post-game interviews.

 

Finally, let us all give thanks that the Penguins were swept out of the 1st round in 4 games, thus sparing us yet another pathetic attempt to grow a playoff beard by one Sidney Crosby. His annual attempts remind me of Cliff Clavin on the episode of Cheers where the guys had a beard growing competition.

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