We’ve reached the point in the playoffs where faces become unrecognizable, and the identity of grown men has transformed completely over five weeks and two full playoff rounds. Faces that were once smooth and free of furry features are a tangled mess, with a facial jungle having now conquered the chin, and the eyeballs are its next mission. It’s a life form that feeds off the energy of each playoff win, and grows even stronger with the warmth of the late May and early June sun.
The effect of the sun’s rays may explain the particularly wild growth throughout the Sharks’ roster. However, our team of HOTH scientists has been investigating the rapid spread of the red beard in Vancouver, and even the brightest minds remain stunned.
The continued embarrassment that is Tomas Kaberle’s beard is quite easy to explain though. His genetics are wired to infuse growth that’s equal to playoff point production. Kaberle is the first subject of our weekly rundown through the facial failures and successes of the 2011 NHL playoffs, and we see that his growth does indeed reflect his paltry three points.
Kaberle was featured back in our Week 2 update, and at the time we weren’t sure if he was participating in hockey’s spring razor chucking tradition at all. Jump ahead three weeks and we’re beginning to see some progress, although it’s still far less than that one kid in every grade eight class that was the subject of genetic testing as a child.
The timeline is lengthy here, mostly because we’re at the mercy of Getty Images and Torres wasn’t around for much face time late in the season because of his penchant for getting punished after illegal hits. But that’s not the focus here anyway, because it’s Torres’ versatility to pull off multiple looks in a relatively short time span that gains our respect.
He’s gone from the thin look that resembles anyone who wears an Ed Hardy shirt, to the creeping fuzz that’s halfway up his cheek. Both looks have suited him well, which leaves us wondering what he’ll try next.
Starting yet another run through the Sharks’ roster of beard growing freaks, second-year player Benn Ferriero introduced his beard to the hockey world when he scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Western semi-finals against Detroit. His playing time has been limited this season (hence the lengthy timeline again), but the combination of his long, quasi-mullet and the beard have us looking for the Hanson Brothers to hop over the bench.
Murray leads the playoffs with 54 hits. That’s appropriate given the growing size of his beard, because he’s beginning to look like a man who will literally rip your face off.
From baby-face to burly face in just over a month, Boychuk has the most complete and scary personal transformation of the playoffs.
We end with a solemn tribute to Zetterberg’s beard that unfortunately met its maker this week after the Red Wings’ improbable comeback against the Sharks fell one game short. He wasn’t quite at Ron Burgundy status yet, but he was damn close.
Maybe next year, Henrik, maybe next year.