40 Memorable Playoff Hockey Beards
In the late 1970s and 80s, the New York Islanders started one of the greatest playoff traditions in all of sports: the playoff beard. After a resurgence in popularity over the past decade, the play-off beard superstition has transcended hockey to other sports with athletes trying their damnedest to look like Amish hay balers or Siberian lumberjacks in the post-season. Notable recent standouts include Mark Sanchez leading the New York Jets to the AFC championship with a face of grizzly scrub or Pau Gasol rocking out his inner-Wolverine as a Laker in last year’s NBA Finals [editor’s note: don’t forget Duke’s Brian Zoubek!]. Even Conan O’Brien is sporting some chin fuzz while taking the stage in Canada for his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour.”
Back in early March, a loyal BroBible reader contacted us about posting a gallery of playoff beards. We simply couldn’t resist. Currently the NHL is encouraging fans to participate in a beard-a-thon by sporting their own playoff beards for their favorite charity. There’s going to be plenty of beard breakdowns and hirsute analysis over the next two months during the quest for the Stanley Cup. Competition for this year’s best Paul Bunyan or ZZ-Top NHL look-a-like will be fierce. Can defending champion Max Talbot of the Pittsburgh Penguins outgrow Scott Niedermayer’s legendary grey stubble? Will Alex Ovechkin’s five-o-clock shadow sprout into a full-grown bush? Will Sidney Crosby actually go through puberty this year and manage to grow facial hair for the first time in his career? These questions remain. Before tonight’s opening round face-off, we thought we’d pay tribute to some of the greatest hockey playoff whiskers in recent memory. Check them out after the jump.