Winning the Stanley Cup takes commitment and sacrifice, much like the sweat-soaked chin curtains hanging from the tired faces of your hockey heroes.
The playoff beard is like a badge of honor. Almost every player left standing at the end has gone months without shaving or even trimming their facial hair, resulting in various degrees of success.
So who did it best this year?
Because the Penguins and Predators spent the longest amount of time growing them out, we’ll limit our focus to those two teams.
There’s one caveat when undertaking the noble task of ranking another man’s facial hair, however. For a player to be in the running for best playoff beard, he has to start from a relatively fresh face. So everyday beard-wearers like Ryan Ellis, Ian Cole and Nick Bonino are not included. We’re talking zero to 100. There is some wiggle room, but it has to be within reason.
With all that said, here’s the unofficial ranking of the best beards from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning with the worst.
Best of the bad
That stache is trash, which is what makes it so great. Credit to Maatta for walking around for weeks with that thing on his lip.
This is about what you’d expect from a rosy-cheeked 22-year-old.
Evgeni Malkin’s Lenin with sideburns look never fails to disappoint. He should rock this full-time.
There’s not many things Sidney Crosby has failed to achieve in his hockey career. Growing a decent beard is one of them.
Pekka Rinne struggled to fill in the cheeks, but perhaps no player had a closer shave to start the playoffs.
Not a bad debut for one of the youngest guys on the list.
Neck beard is on point, but a little thin in spots.
Calle Jarnkrok had great coverage, but got docked points due to pre-existing growth.
Started from the bottom, quality beard.
Phil Kessel had too much of a head start to be ranked this high, but it’s The Phil and his Yukon Cornelius impression always deserves praise.
The final product is as good as any, but just a little too much pre-playoff stubble to be in the running for No. 1.
Ron Hainsey waited a long time for the chance to let his beard run wild, and as expected it filled in nicely.
Another strong entry, but it’s almost too perfect.
Hornqvist’s beard is a prize winner, but Schultz’s below is just slightly more haggard. Maybe it’s the color. Either way, full marks to Hornqvist.
The final product epitomizes everything that is right about the playoff beard. Unkempt and full coverage, from lip to neck. He also started about as clean as a guy who can grow that kind of beard could.
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