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Last spring marked the first time Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews(notes) and Patrick Kane(notes) competed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and both embraced the longstanding tradition of the hockey playoff beard with varying degrees of success.

Which is to say that Toews resembled a Victorian-era vampire with six-inch chops on face, while Kane grew the scraggly mess you see pictured on the top right. The Blackhawks lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference finals, sparing fans an additional round of the follicle nightmares.

To his credit, Kane has recognized two things as the Blackhawks prepare for their 2010 Stanley Cup playoff opener at home against the Nashville Predators on Friday: That there needs to be some change in Chicago's hockey karma to get them the Cup; and that he is stricken with the physical inability to grow a proper playoff beard.

Kane's solution: Rejecting the playoff beard, embracing the playoff mullet, as you can see in at the top of the post and below right.

"No, I'm gonna shave [the beard] before the [the playoffs]. I have to keep it as much away as I possibly can because it was pretty embarrassing last year. I've got the playoff mullet going now, so I hope to try and keep that for a bit," he told reporters in Chicago Tuesday.

"Short on top, kind of like a regular hair cut, and then the long hair in the back. Kinda bring back the '80's look, I guess. They were saying 'business in the front, party in the back.' Those were the comments I got about it," he said. "Just flowin' in the back, with a little more room up top. I'll kinda look a little trashy for a little bit, but it's fun and the boys all got a good laugh out of it. So that's what it's all about I guess."

Here's the video of this landmark press conference, via Huffington Post:

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Obviously, the Hockey Mullet contains its own legendary power: Jaromir Jagr(notes) scored 181 points in 169 playoff games and won two Stanley Cups while rocking, for the most part, the most glorious puck mane in history.

So we applaud Patrick Kane's grooming decision for the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, despite what the late Chicago music icon Wesley Willis once sang (NSFW lyrics). And if this hockey thing doesn't work out, there's always a starring role in a sequel to "Road House." Or working on the crew for a Skynyrd tour. Or attending an "Eastbound and Down" fan convention. Really, the possibilities are endless.

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