It’s become such a trend that some players these days aren’t satisfied with just growing a playoff beard — they’ve branched off into playoff mullets and playoff mutton chops. But for the hockey traditionalists who forego shaving while they’re in search of Stanley, a big, bushy chin is the way to go.
The playoff beard is now decades old.
The New York Islanders dynasty of the early 1980s is often cited as the starting point and Hall of Fame defenceman Denis Potvin even joked that his mom told him to win a second Stanley Cup so she could have a nice picture of him holding it — one without a thicket of hair surrounding his face.
Since then, the playoff beard has been a badge of honour for those lucky enough to go deep in the post-season.
But there have been cheaters, too. Traditionally, players are to have stopped shaving the day the playoffs begin, but many eager beavers (some going on the technicality that their push just to get into the tournament felt like the post-season already) jumped the gun this year and were sporting full growth by the middle of the first round.
The players will tell you that superstition is a big part of the ritual and no matter how itchy the look may get, they won’t shave until their team is eliminated or they are hoisting the Cup.
But defenceman Chris Pronger hasn’t had much trouble getting to the final in recent years and he rarely sports any stubble. Nonetheless, it’s fun to see what the players come up with and just how woolly things can get.