Friday, June 3, 2011
The rules are simple: No player could have started growing a beard before the playoffs began. That means players like Shea Weber and Ryan Malone are disqualified. It's tough, but if you have a beard before the playoffs you're cheating. It's not a playoff beard in January; it's just a beard. If you grew a moustache before the playoffs began I'll make an exemption. Regular season moustaches: In; regular season beards: Out. This is serious business.
Before I get to the all-beard team, let's break down some awards first. Think of these like the Grammy awards they give out before the taped broadcast.
The Sidney Crosby Award - Worst Beard by a Newcomer
This beard looks like a caterpillar crawled on Seguin's face and decided to make his jaw its new home. This thing is wispy, fuzzy, and totally funny. Those qualities also make it amazing. You've got to respect a player that goes out there with a ridiculous looking beard for team unity.
The Lanny MacDonald Award - Best Moustache
Moustaches are totally in with the hipsters right now, which might be the reason Dubinsky decided growing a moustache was cooler than a beard.
The Scott Niedermayer Award - Best Old Man Beard
Roloson's beard is patchy, so it isn't good by normal beard rating metrics (which are extremely scientific), but it has the nice touch of grey that says "I'm going to play my heart out because this might be my last shot at the Cup."
Okay, now the six men who will make up this year's Wendel Clark All-Stars.
The highs and lows for Torres this post-season have been startling. People wanted him run out of the league after throwing a check on Brent Seabrook in the 'thunderdome' (hat-tip to Down Goes Brown) immediately after serving a four game suspension for a hit on Jordan Eberle. Fast-forward a few weeks and he's scoring the game winning goal in game one of the Stanley Cup Final.
Torres is the resident ginger beard on this list. His thick and bushy sea of red makes him look like he's a little off his rails, which he probably is.
Thornton is a two-time Wendel Clark All-Star, representing all centremen last season as well. Joe conveniently shaved his beard late in the regular season because he knew it meant ineligibility for these prestigious awards.
Joe has undergone somewhat of a career transformation this season and despite the constant beating he takes around these parts I think this won't be the first bit of praise he receives at 5MFF.
At the beginning of the season Chris Higgins' potential beard probably thought it would never escape the oppressive confines of Florida, but, thankfully, Higgins was traded to Vancouver mid-season, which meant a long post-season, providing ample beard growing time.
You just knew the big man could grow a crazy beard. I think his father was a mountain and his mother was a redwood tree (unconfirmed), so it makes perfect sense why Zdeno's beard comes in looking like a forest. Plus, it certainly doesn't disprove the claim that he's an actual giant and was born in a cave.
The former Canadian Olympian and centre-piece of a Chris Pronger deal not named Joffrey Lupul has never played more than one round in the playoffs, which made his beard prowess a total unknown. Brewer has silenced all critics with his thick and expansive beard that shows that you don't need playoff experience to grow a great beard.
Thomas' beard is so great that I bent the rules for his inclusion on the All-Stars. He was growing a wacky moustache during the regular season, which transformed into a beard during the post-season (or maybe it annexed the rest of his face). Thomas is one of the most likeable players in the NHL and this beard isn't doing anything to contradict that.
Honourable Mentions: Ben Eager (who had ample time to grow his beard sitting on the bench), Niclas Wallin, Patrick Marleau, Patrice Bergeron