Sharks’ Joe Thornton says goodbye to his ‘lifestyle beard’

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You know, there are probably a ton of hockey fans out there who do not know what a clean-shaven Joe Thornton looks like. The San Jose Sharks forward has been growing out his beard for several years now — likely because when you hang around with  Brent Burns long enough, anything can happen. Isn’t that right, Paul Martin?

But on Monday night, on the eve of Thornton’s 21st NHL season, he decided to make a change and say goodbye to the beard as Burns did the honors.

Burns, by the way, went clean-shaven in 2013 while raising $23,403 for two charities.

“My wife’s been wanting this done for a long time and the guys kind of got on it and all of a sudden the shaver came out, and there it was on the plate,” Thornton said via the Mercury News. “My 5-year old wasn’t happy this morning. When he woke up, he didn’t want to see dad. I’ve got to make it up to him somehow.”

The finished product made its debut during Tuesday’s practice:

The beard has been through a lot. There was the graying as the 39-year-old Thornton aged. The “ESPN Body Issue.” Those weird Guy LaFleur comments. There was David Backes taking a tug while the two were involved in a scrum. And who could forget Nazem Kadri, an obvious fan of Jumbo’s facial hair choices, wanting a piece for himself so bad that he ripped out a chunk as the pair tussled last season.

Now that he’s a little lighter, Thornton, who noted he regretted the decision as soon as Burns starting shaving it, should be challenging Connor McDavid and Dylan Larkin in the Fastest Skater competition in no time.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.