Here's a look at some of the top hockey beards over the years, playoff or otherwise:
Chris Mason - Here's St. Louis goalie Grizzly Adams, I mean Chris Mason. He's got the shave head and a bushman's beard. He started growing it a couple of months before the playoffs as the Blues were in a fight for the final playoff spot. It worked, until they were swept by Vancouver in round one.
Just looking at this picture makes my face itch. And it is not even a great pic of Mason. It was the best I could find, but the beard is so much more spectacular when viewed with his shiny chrome dome of a head prominent.
Mike Commodore - Back to back years, first with Calgary and then with Carolina, featured Mike Commodore's playoff hair. Not only did he grow the big beard, but the big Afro, too. With the Hurricane's run he added a bathrobe to his routine. Hey, the sideshow stuff got him noticed as he played really solid hockey in both runs, and now he is cashing in with Columbus. Unfortunatley for hockey fans, a long playoff run for Commodore's Blue Jackets does not appear to be coming any time soon. They'll need super goaltender Steve Mason to grow a playoff beard, you know, once he's old enough to do so.
Scott Parker - No, this is not a prison convict. It is Colorado Avalanche designated hitter Scott Parker. He has played in only 56 games in four seasons since the lockout. Yes, injuries played a major role in that. So did the fact that he can't actually play. Enjoy this pic because with the NHL looking to legislate out orchestrated fights, Parker will be looking for other employment.
Bill Flett - This is Cowboy Bill Flett, a rough and tumble customer with the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers and later with the WHA Edmonton Oilers. He was a brawler (it seems most of hockey's bearded guys are tough as nails) but in 1972-73 he scored 43 goals with the Flyers, the 5th most goals in the league that year. In 1978 he scored 41 goals with the WHA Oilers, the 8th most goals that year.
It is worth noting that Flett's gem was no playoff beard. He looked like this all season long. Now that is dedication.
Scott Niedermayer - Scott Niedermayer is the perfect example why I personally would never follow the playoff beard tradition, you know, if I could skate, shoot and actually play hockey. Look at him. This is his immortalizing moment. He is handed the Stanley Cup, just like Gretzky, Lemieux or Messier before him. He will forever be pictured as the gray bearded old guy instead of one of hockey's all time greats. Players really need to think about this more I think. Sidney Crosby, do you really want to be immortalized with that patchy beard of yours? Just be like Gretz or Mario, and let history remember you as you actually were.
Ken Danyeko - Here is Niedermayer's old teammate Kenny Daneyko. Now Daneyko was a good player but will never be accused of being one of the game's all time greats, but I think he trumps Niedermayer at least in the beard category. There are only two words to descibe Daneyko's appearance in this picture - oh my! He was a good player, and deserves to be remembered for selfless game than for this face.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere - J.S. Gigeure's Jiggy-normous beard and spectacular play helped him win a Conn Smythe Trophy and gain national attention on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
There was even some suggestion he did not need to wear his mask as his beard would adequately protect him from speeding pucks.
Amanda Beard - This is model Amanda Beard. She has nothing to do with hockey. But let's just pretend she does.
Clark Gillies - The playoff beard tradition is said to have been started by the New York Islanders dynasty teams of the early 1980s. Several of their players sported beards, including the neatly trimmed Ken Morrow and bushier John Tonelli. But Clark Gillies may have been the most famous. Like Flett he was a monster of a man, but also a very good hockey player. After all he got into the Hall of Fame. But he was a scary beast not be messed with, and the beard made him even scarier.
Kris Draper - No, that is not Chuck Norris
Mathieu Schneider - Here's Draper's one time teammate Mathieu Schneider. Schneider is a wiley veteran nowadays, but he still looks like a kid out there. Until he grows out the beard. Then he just looks, well, plain wrong.
Max Talbot - Part of the reason Pittsburgh has done so well in back-to-back playoffs is Penguins' forward Max Talbot. He has taken off so much pressure off of young Sidney Crosby. He selflessly grew the equivalent of two beards since young peach-fuzz can't grow one yet.
Paul Mara - Last but not least we have Paul Mara, underrated both in terms of his play on the ice and the hair on his face. I hope he keeps his beard for the Olympics, because I think he will be playing for Team USA in 2010.
That is an excellent collection of beard pictures!
I didn't know about Flett's beard until reading this...that is fantastic!
(1) For goalie Chris Mason to have such a thick, heavy beard at the very beginning of the playoffs seems a tad unorthodox and out of place.
(2) Cowboy Flett's beard ranks as the greatest of all-time, in my opinion.
(3) Scotty Niedermayer (oh how I miss him on NJ!) should have his picture in Webster's Dictionary, next to the entry for "graybeard."
No love for Lanny McDonald?
Otherwise, a great collection of beards...
Beard trivia: The name of the one guy in ZZ Top without a beard? Frank Beard.
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