The Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us. And for most NHL players, that means it is time to ditch the razors and embrace pogonotrophy—or the art cultivating facial hair.
Of course, not every NHL player can grow manly beard worthy of being commemorated in an oil painting or sculpture. And although these lesser men will try valiantly to grow one anyway, they will fail. Which is unfortunate.
Luckily there are also plenty of players who can grow luscious playoff beards. And it is our hope that these men will read today’s list of the 20 greatest playoff beards in NHL history and aspire to greatness.
What are the qualities that separate an average playoff beard from the greatest playoff beards of all time? Well, to create our ranking, we looked as dozens of playoff beards and evaluated them across four categories: (1) density, (2) shape, (3) color, and of course (4) intangibles. Then, after looking up what an algorithm is, we just went with our gut. Thus, the whole process was pretty scientific.
We have to start somewhere. It might as well be with this simple yet manly playoff beard sported by Jeff Carter during the Kings' magical wrecking ball run to the Cup in 2012.
20. Jeff Carter (2012)
Red Wings, red beard. It's a match made in heaven.
19. Kris Draper (2008)
Henrik Lunqvist has acquired a reputation for being one of the most dapper gents in the NHL. It should come as no surprise the Swedish superstar sported a dense, perfectly groomed beard during the Rangers' run to the Finals in 2014.
18. Henrik Lunqvist (2014)
Jaromir Jagr spent most of his career cultivating his legendary mullet. Nobody thought he had much of a beard game. However, in 2013 he Jagr blew us all away when he showed up to a Bruins Stanley Cup Finals presser sporting this beauty.
17. Jaromir Jagr (2013)
Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is no stranger to lists of hottest NHL players. When he grows out his sexy viking beard during the postseason, it's not even fair.
16. Henrik Sedin (2008)
At 6'9", Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is already an intimidating presence on the ice. However, when the playoffs roll around and all of a sudden he turns into an actualbear, the man is downright terrifying.
15. Zdeno Chara (2011)
The award for saddestplayoff beard in NHL history goes to J.S. Giguere, answer to the trivia question "who is the last player to win the Con Smythe trophy as playoffs MVP without winning the Stanley Cup?"
14. Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003)
Tim Thomas isn't sad. He won the Con Smythe and the Stanley Cup in 2011, and he did it all while sporting this tremendous beard full guns and liberty.
13. Tim Thomas (2011)
Now that's a bushy beard. I'm pretty sure Mike Richard used a pick to fluff that thing out.
12. Mike Richards (2012)
Patrick Kane's 2014 playoff beard was downright filthy. But where have a seen this thing before?
Oh right. In the 1989 Tom Hanks classic, The Burbs.
11. Patrick Kane (2014)
Max Talbot, meanwhile, can be seen in Disney Pixar's animated masterpiece, Monsters Inc, reminding us to always be suspicious of lemon snow cones.
10. Maxime Talbot (2009)
Mike Commodore's red afro took the spotlight during the Hurricanes' run to the Cup in 2006, but that bushy red beard was still quite remarkable in its own right.
9. Mike Commodore (2006)
Think this one is impressive? Well, keep in mind the Nashville Predators have never made it past the second round of the playoffs. Can you even imagine how terrifying Shea Weber will look if he makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals?
8. Shea Weber (2011)
Ken Daneyko won the Stanley Cup three times with the Devils. By the last one, he had mastered the art of the cultivating grizzled playoff beards.
7. Ken Daneyko (2003)
It might seem unfair to let toothlessnes affect our ranking of a beard, but this is where intangibles come in. You just cannot ignore synergy between a solid playoff beard and the rest of a guy's face.
6. Dustin Penner (2012)
We couldn't do a list of the greatest playoff beards in NHL history and not mention the New York Islanders dynasty. They started the playoff beard tradition. And chief among them when it came to cultivating manly postseason facial hair was their captain, Denis Potvin, pictured here hosting Lord Stanley's Cup.
5. Denis Potvin (1980)
The greatest neckbeard-mullet combo in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Obviously former Flyer/current Blue Jacket Scott Hartnell, who looks like this these days.
4. Scott Hartnell (2010)
Full disclosure: Paul Mara probably did not grow this beard entirely in the playoffs. The man was a very talented beard artist who did not confine his skillz to the postseason, so he probably got an early start on this one.
That said, Mara is the kind of guy who can grow a beard overnight. So the issue of when he started this one really isn't that important. In the end, we all need to just relax and enjoy this majestic creature.
3. Paul Mara (2008)
Would you look at that thing? It's stunning. The gray-bearded Niedermayer looks like a stately sea captain wistfully surveying his ship as he returns home from his final voyage.
2. Scott Niedermayer (2007)
And if Scott Niedermayer is the stately, dignified sea captain, Lanny McDonald is the fanatical whaler gone made after a decade-long hunt for the whale that bit off his leg.
Of course, Lanny sported one of the greatest mustaches in sports history during the regular season. But when he stopped shaving the rest of his face during the playoffs, he looked absolutely terrifying. Which was fantastic.
1. Lanny McDonald (1989)
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