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Here are this season’s five scraggliest NHL headshots

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Prior to every NHL campaign, teams put their players through a bunch of boring administrative stuff — physicals, paperwork and, most importantly for the purposes of this post, headshots.

The headshot is a curious thing. It’s not often used, so players tend to treat it like high school picture day. Show up in whatever shape you’re in, completely oblivious to the fact someone is going to capture your image, sit down, stare at the camera and hope it turns out, you know, not awful.

Of course, the whole “show up in whatever shape you’re in” part can lead to some, uh, interesting results.

Like in the case of the following five NHLers:

Brent Burns

This one has been making the rounds for a while (see here) so there’s really no need to go into great detail about the bushman of San Jose.

Here he be:

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Greg Zanon

I like the juxtaposition at play. How can one man’s head be so immaculately clean, yet his beard look like it was glued on, then sent through a wind tunnel?

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Rick DiPietro

He may or may not have spent the lockout following Phish around in an ’83 Volkswagen bus.

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Kris Versteeg

The strength of Steeger’s mustache growth seems to be in strips directly below his nostrils, which is weirdly fascinating.

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Nikolai Khabibulin

And rounding it out is the ‘Bulin Wall, looking far more disheveled than he did in his infamous 2010 DUI mugshot.

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Now, for an entirely different set of headshots, check out this gallery of New Jersey Devils. That is the cleanest-shaven hockey team ever.

We mentioned last year about how Brian Burke waxed poetic over Lou Lamoriello’s strict grooming policies, but just to refresh:

Burke (courtesy the National Post):

“When I played at Providence College, we played West Point, we played the U.S. military academy, at West Point. Now, this is the ’70s, we’re playing teams with guys who have hair down to here [points to shoulders]. Our hair is not allowed to touch our ear.

“Like, I just got a haircut today so that Lou won’t call me and tell me I need a haircut.”

Burke pointed to his freshly trimmed sideburns and continued.

“So we’re playing the cadets. We’re at centre ice and their guys skate over: ‘Hey man, what’s with the hair? We HAVE to do this. What’s with you guys?’

And we’re like, ‘we HAVE to do it, too.”

All of New Jersey’s haircuts are believed to be modeled on this example:

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Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.