The playoff beard phenomenon

1-orpik-beard.jpg“So how’s your playoff beard doing?”

You can file that one away under “questions a hockey fan asks” and not get a funny look for doing so. Every April it’s the playoffs rite of passage and it’s something that’s solely unique to hockey. Seeing the beards grow in as the playoffs wear on is always a point of interest and sometimes mockery if you’re a certain captain of the defending Cup champions. Even playoff stalwarts like Martin Brodeur, who have previously gone sans coif in the playoffs, are growing one out this year. The beard is all the rage now and you don’t even need to be an annoying hipster to do it either.

Thankfully, Pittsburgh’s Seth Rorabaugh has all fans in mind when he crafted his Playoff Beard Preview for Empty Netters and some of the sights are truly incredible. If you’re looking for a reason to root for Buffalo, might I suggest Raffi Torres’ beard potential. If we can get something like what Torres had for Edmonton back in 2006, and have him go up against, say, Kris Draper and his beard for Detroit, we could have the ultimate shockingly red beard-off in the Finals.

With all that aside, the beard phenomenon is something teams have rushed to embrace. Pittsburgh, Washington, San Jose, Colorado and others are all doing their part to raise money for charity by having fans let their facial hair fly for the playoffs and if there’s anything anyone can get behind, it’s helping out for charity.  Then again, you could just pull a nutty and make like Patrick Kane and opt to go for dirty hair in a different way by letting his inner Joe Dirt out and growing the all-time king of hockey hair: the mullet.


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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?