Week 3 playoff beard update

The life of a playoff beard is fragile. It grows and flourishes, reaching for daylight with each passing day.

The shaving kit sits abandoned, knowing its place. The next time it’s touched that indicates the death of another dream, and an offseason started far too soon. Rest in peace, Paul Mara’s beard.

But do not hang your heads in shame, for this is no time to dwell on the failures of hair-growers. There are games to be won, a cup to raise, and wives/girlfriends to annoy with facial bristle. There’s still a fine crop of beard-growers fighting the good fight in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, from key scorers to fourth-line grinders.

Some have enhanced their long held chin-warming friend, adding a never seen before black boldness to a pre-existing beard. Others are new to the game, and are mounting a steep challenge. This week’s playoff beard update features a mix of each with both veterans and young stars, all of which are grizzled.

Joe Pavelski

April 29 - April 9

Pavelski’s playoff scoring touch arrived last spring when he scored eight goals over a five-game stretch. He hasn’t matched that production yet this year, but that flaming red beard will soon increase his intimidation factor, undoubtedly leading to more scoring chances.

Niclas Wallin

April 29 - March 26

Delving further into the fine crop of facial hair sprouting in San Jose, we had to do some digging in the Getty Images archive to see the full impact of Wallin’s effort. I guess players who’ve scored just eight points this year don’t get much face time.

Keith Hernandez does not approve of Wallin’s growth, and thinks his beard is weird.

Ryan Suter

April 22 - April 13

Emerging as Pavelski’s rival for the title of Blazin’ Red Champion, Suter has made some impressive progress over a short period of time. Has he done his drug test yet this year? (hey, you gotta ask the question…).

Todd Bertuzzi

April 16 - March 30

Powered by Detroit’s rich beard-growing heritage, Bertuzzi is one of those unpredictable growers who can unleash the animal at a moment’s notice. He has a constant five o’clock shadow that blossoms into full werewolf-style face coverage with only a brief drop of the razor.

The kingpin of the growing game, Bertuzzi has produced some of the all-time classic playoff growths in recent memory, and he’s off to a fine start this year.

Nate Thompson

April 27 - March 31

A newcomer to the facial fight, Thompson’s thin but thickening full-face effort represents fourth liners everywhere who are slapped with that painful sandpaper tag by Pierre McGuire.

McGuire then promptly lists off where the player played junior hockey, and what elementary school he attended.