(Ed. Note: We're proud to welcome back two of our favorite bloggers, Chuck and Pants from What's Up, Ya Sieve?, to the Puck Daddy fold as they author our NHL Playoff Beard Watch, which tracks the best and worst follicle growth in the postseason.)
By Chuck And Pants, What's Up Ya Sieve?
It’s time to turn our appraising eyes toward the West. We didn't pick the Hawks to win Rounds 1 or 2 this season, but there's one category in which we'd never bet against them: beards. Could this be the year we're wrong three times in a row?
Some of the players left standing are no strangers to BeardWatch: Johnny Oduya, Patrick Maroon, Clayton Stoner, and Scott Darling's beards have all graced our gazes in these playoffs. They may be frontrunners for Beard of the Year. Let's see who else is in the West lineup, and whose beard should remain on the bench.
Corey Crawford vs. Kyle Palmieri
In truth, we should have listed Crow among the beards we always talk about. It is the stuff of legend: growing wilder behind his mask, waiting deep into the darkness of late rounds before leaping out like a monster from under the bed.
But this year, it seems... cozy, almost. Charming. In fact, coupled with the soft curls, this beard wants to serenade you on his beat-up acoustic six-string before stowing its Birkenstocks, striking a Warrior One and gliding off top a stand-up paddleboard. Balancing the Stanley Cup on the nose.
And yet, it only took a moment for Crawford's beard to meet a potential match.
Here's the story of how we met Kyle Palmieri: We looked at the Ducks website five minutes ago and he was on the front page. Voila! No ‘X’ has so clearly marked its spot since Indiana Jones busted up that library floor in Venice. How have we been missing this great beard? It's dark and dashing, with a bit of moxie. It has matured without our knowing, and sprung fully-formed.
This is a beard that could ascend to the throne.
Hampus Lindholm vs. Patrick Kane
We appreciate team spirit, and the superstition to remain unshaven during playoffs. It is such a time- and style-honored tradition. But Hampus, love, this beard looks like a deserted ski jump in a long-forgotten Olympic city: ramp off the top lip, two-track landing rut waaaaaay down around the chin. In between, nothing but empty air and the fear of a crash landing.
Still, we can't fault the new guy for not knowing one of BeardWatch's Commandments: if you can't do it right, at least do it weird. Look at Toews, Jagr, and Patrick Kane - Own that gnarly patch and make it count! Patrick Kane has so much hockey talent that it's only fair his beard grows like wind-swept sand dunes, spilling from his jaw in every direction and piling up wherever the wind blows. We wouldn't want the guy to be too good.
Andrew Cogliano vs. Brandon Saad
Andrew Cogliano looks like the cutest bro in your high school who grew up, went to college, joined a frat, and then went into finance. He spent a few years evolving from crushing cases of beer cans to drinking craft brews from goblets and recently discovered that "red" is not how you order wine at a restaurant. Right about the time his beard connects at the temples, he's going to admit that Skittles don't count as a serving of fruit. In no time, he'll be trading his two-door sports car for the sporty hatchback suburban edition. It'll still be a Beamer, though. With room to carry more furniture for his man cave.
Say "beard" to Blackhawks fans, as we've often done, and the reply is a rousing chorus of "Saaaaaaaad." It sounds dreamy. Brandon took the liberty of giving us a mid-season preview of his beard. This unassuming, Teen Wolf-y number can grow into full fur. It gets breadth and depth.
Just give him another playoff round - or the next full moon - and watch him transform.
Beard we’re going to miss the most: Brandon Bollig
One more nod to the gold standard.