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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: Confessions Of A Playoff Beard‏

Detroit Red WingsLast year, the Red Wings made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they were eliminated in game 5 by the San Jose Sharks. April 14th 2010 to May 8th 2010, a period of 24 days.

Every post-season, I throw down my razor and join the Red Wings majority in the cultivation of a playoff beard. As usual, last year’s effort was pretty lame, and although it was fairly large in coverage, which was new, I never really got the thick, rug-like beard I desired. Previous attempts had only resulted in patchy sections or fluffy growth that wasn’t worth maintaining. Even the 2008 and 2009 playoffs, both of which featured Detroit in the final, showed that I was unable to grow a proper beard, as I looked like someone had just drawn sporadically on my face with orange felt-tip pen.

Also, being blond doesn’t help, and I now find my beard turning dark around the chops, and yet strangely red/ginger around the ‘tache. After just over three weeks, my beard came off and life went on. No big deal.

This year, something has changed. In the last 12 months, a lot has happened to me. I’ve moved house twice, I’ve turned 28, I’ve got divorced, and I’ve booked a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the American mid-west to see the opening games of next season’s NHL schedule in Detroit, Chicago and St Louis. I also appeared to have collected the ability to grow a beard properly.

The playoffs started just this last Wednesday (April 13th 2011), and yet after 5 days, I’ve got a decent amount of face fungus, and more worryingly, it’s thicker and more hobo-esque than last year’s 24-day effort. The Wings are 2-0 up in the series against the Coyotes, but I don’t expect a sweep, and all I can really think about right now is that if Detroit make it to the second round (which they’re currently on course to do), then even at the very earliest, it’s going to be a 20-22 day beard growth, which concerns me a little, especially as I’ve also decided to not get my hair cut for the duration of the playoffs too.

Again it’s blond, but with darker chops and a fairer ‘tache and goatee area, but it’s thick like a toothbrush, and I’m finding it scratching on my sheets when I’m trying to sleep. These things are not new, as I backpacked around Europe with a friend whilst both refusing to shave the entire time, but it’s certainly annoying, and very frustrating. I tell you, sleeping bags and beards are not happy bedfellows. Neither is being in Spain, in summer, with a beard, having not showered for three days. But anyway, I digress.

I guess the only thing making this any easier, is that now I don’t have someone complaining about it all the time. Last year, I suffered multiple attacks upon my beard from the aforementioned ex-wife. These included at least two, but often all of:

“It’s scratchy”
“It leaves a mark on my shoulder when you hug me”
“Work won’t like it” (she was right, they didn’t!)
“You look like a hobo” (she was right, I did)
“I don’t care about the Islanders tradition, or Henrik Zetterberg” (I did shout “BLASPHEMY!” at this point)
“You look unprofessional”
“Why isn’t the bit below your bottom lip growing?”
“You always get food and crumbs stuck in it”
“Get the hell away from me”

My return argument that Chuck Norris had a beard didn’t really hold water, and her angry retort that I should stop modelling myself on Chuck Norris hurt me deeply.

I also found that she had been referring to it as a 3rd person. As in “When are you and your beard going to be home tonight?”, and “Will you and your beard take out the bins?” This year, I have less beard-related nagging, but a much more impressive beard, and I must say, I prefer it that way round.

As the Wings start their own playoff beards, many players have high standards to keep. Danny Cleary always comes up big with the beards, as does Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, and of course Henrik Zetterberg. I can’t imagine we’ll see much of a beard from Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson or Justin Abdelkader, but I would hope we could maybe see some growth on the faces of rarely bearded players such as Brian Rafalski, Val Filpulla or Jiri Hudler.

Obviously, I could never reach the J S Giguere or Paul Mara level of beard-ism, but I do like to think I’m joining in. Last year, although my beard was a long-time coming, I had started to look quite a lot like Johan Franzen by the last couple of Sharks games. Hopefully this year the similarity will be a lot quicker in emerging, as it’s nice to pretend to be someone else for a while. Now, if only people in the UK actually knew who Johan Franzen was…

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One comment for “Detroit Red Wings: Confessions Of A Playoff Beard‏”

  1. The play-off beard is one of the great hockey traditions. I normally keep a goatee, but this year after the Sharks last game of the regular season, I shave everything off completely and start growing a new.
    I actually ran into the Sharks play-by-play announcer (Randy Hann) at the Sharks game as he was passing out car flags for Fan Appreciation night. I asked him if he was going to grow his play-off beard and he said his last shave was that morning. I told him I would shave after the game and he was a bit stunned I was going to shave the goatee off entirely instead of growing a beard around it, but he applauded my enthusiasm. It turns out a few of the in studio analysts and some of the game announcers are also growing play-off beards.
    If it starts to itch, try putting baby powder on it or conditioner when in the shower. Whatever you do, don’t shave it.
    They way the Sharks played against the Kings on Saturday; this may be the shortest play-off beard I have ever grown.

    Posted by FC Sharks FanNo Gravatar | April 18, 2011, 1:30 pm

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