"I don't know," said the man of few words. "Just seemed like the thing to do at the time."
Here it is, if you haven't seen it:
After almost two weeks of playoffs, the beard has grown into a significant presence on my face -- although, it currently leans more toward “unemployed and lazy” rather than the “rugged and virile” look I’m going for. (Not to mention, there is an alarming amount of salt in that pepper.)
A number of friends – and more importantly, my fiancée – have recommended I clean it up in certain spots, namely the neck and upper cheek areas. I, however, have always been under the impression that you never touch a playoff beard, that is until your team has played its final playoff game. (Plus, one of the joys of growing out the beard is that it takes me approximately 45 seconds to get ready in the morning.)
I’ve gotten conflicting opinions, so I decided to take the matter into the Ducks locker room and ask some of the more fertile beard growers their opinions.
I started, of course, with the guy who has unanimously been deemed Hairiest Duck – young Kyle Palmieri. Out of pure necessity, he sides on the “trim it” side of the spectrum.
“I have to, or else my beard will connect to my chest hair,” he said. “So, I need to keep it trimmed a little bit on the neck and under the eyes. I know Winny [Daniel Winnik] has the same issues, so you kind of need to take care of it or it will become a problem.”
Winnik confirmed that. “I trim the cheeks, or else it will grow into my eyes,” he said. “I don’t trim the neck, just touch it up a bit.”
He happened to be walking down the hallway next to another guy who has sprouted an admirable beard, Patrick Maroon. “I don’t do anything with the neck,” he said, then pointed to his upper cheek. “I just trim it right here. You have to.”
I checked with Teemu Selanne, a guy who had a pretty decent growth during that ’07 Cup run. “I shave my neck a little bit. I hate when I go like that and I can feel it,” he said, while looking down to the ground and touching his chin to his chest.
“It’s up to you though. If it doesn’t bother you, don’t do it.”
Francois Beauchemin is having his beard growth photographed day-by-day throughout the postseason by one of our Ducks publicists (here is today's). Also, he’s one of the manliest men I've ever known, so I figured he’d be good to ask. He said he hasn’t started cleaning up his beard yet, but he will soon.
“I think it looks a little cleaner,” he said. “Some guys let it go, and it starts to grow into the chest."
He continued, “When the neck and the chest get together, it gets a little ugly.”
That quote alone is pretty awesome.
I decided there was one man in this building whose opinion on this topic I trust the most, the man who has grown one of the most prolific playoff beards in the history of this great game.
I’m talking about this one:
Scott Niedermayer, it turned out, thought I was joking at first. But when he saw the severity of my face, he turned serious.
(Okay, not really. He was laughing pretty much the whole time.)
I could have sworn I remembered the beard pictured above as growing boundless, without being touched by human hand over those magical eight weeks in 2007. But Scotty shot that down.
“I trimmed it,” he said, as my shoulders slumped in disappointment. “I had to. It was going to get really ugly if I didn’t.”
Having won four Stanley Cups, he’s been around his share of abundant playoff beards, and he said each man treats his whiskers differently.
“There is always sort of a nice middle ground,” he said. “Some guys can’t afford to trim anything, and some guys really need to. At least that was always my opinion. Maybe some guys are brave enough not to.”
Bottom line: Scotty trims it. I’m trimming it. Case closed.
Today, Hermosa Drive Elementary in Fullerton had a #PaintItOrange day on campus and took things to a whole other level. With the help of the City of Fullerton Fire Department and Police Department, the entire school got together to create this beautiful image below. (Click the image for a larger version.)
Meanwhile, you can CLICK HERE for more great photos from today at Hermosa Drive.
Robidas himself broke down a little bit while talking to reporters about it on Wednesday night.
Just today, we got an email through Contact Us on the Ducks website from someone named Jonathan Soloman, which we will pass on to Robidas. Here it is:
My name is Jonathan. I am an Irish Hockey player and a huge Ducks fan. I am just finishing up studying in Canada and am extremely happy to be watching the Ducks games at a reasonable time, instead of 3am.
I watched the game on Monday night and like most of the Anaheim Ducks Fan base, I was extremely disappointed to see you get hurt. You've made a huge impact on the team since you arrived at trade deadline. Even from afar it is clear that you bring a hugely veteran presence to the team and it is evident how much effort you put in each night. That is the true measure of leadership!
I find myself writing you this message after seeing your interview about your injury and I wanted to let you know that you have the entire fan-base's support. (In fact from the reaction of everyone in Dallas, you clearly have all of their support as well). Your interview was very human and true. I want you to know that we all believe in you! To come back from a broken leg once is inspirational and you have truly inspired me!
I broke my leg during the opening game of my season last year and spent all year trying to get fit in time for the Championship game. I did, but I could not get my fitness levels high enough to play the minutes I wanted to and we lost 8-2 to a very strong Cambridge University varsity team. By no means is my experience anywhere near as difficult as yours, but I want you to know that you've given me the strength to hit this off-season hard so that I can go back to the UK next year and try to win that game. Thank you!
I truly believe that you are more than strong enough to come back from this latest injury and to come back next season and have a huge year. Over the past few months you have taught me about the importance of perseverance, and I hope that this message finds it way to you and that it gives you strength in your recovery. I was told once that you have to rise up and attack everyday with enthusiasm - I try to live my life by this motto and I has given me lots of strength when I have needed it. I hope it offers you even the slightest bit of solace.
You are an inspiration to so many. Coming back from one broken leg offered you the chance to do something great, coming back a second time offers you the chance to do something incredible! You are a fantastic player and I believe that you can get back and have a really shot at a Cup! Go out and attack it!
Thank you for your inspiration!
The schools have in turn submitted photos of their students taking part, and we've put the best ones into a gallery here.
One of our favorite photos came yesterday from Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary in Anaheim, which you may recall was part of a Ducks Power PLAY! campus beautification project back in 2012. Part of that project was building the students a street hockey rink on their playground, and they all crammed into it yesterday to take these fantastic photos (click for a larger version):
But there was one story from last night that you probably didn't see.
After the game was over, and all of the magic from that postgame ovation had finally died down, a pretty big group of fans waited for Teemu at the top of the ramp at the north end of Honda Center. You'll frequently see a handful of fans there after games, because that's where players drive out of the arena on their way home. But well after the game had ended, they had yet to see Teemu.
That's because he was still in the building, having a late dinner at the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Club with his business manager, Pasi Jaatinen, and about a half dozen friends who flew in from Finland to surprise him. In fact, it's a lot of the same guys who he brought in to watch him play in the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, and last night he didn't know they were there until they showed up behind the glass during warmups.
|Here's Teemu signing for the fans at around 1:30 a.m.
When he finally headed out of Honda Center at around 1:30 a.m., those fans were still up there waiting for him. According to Teemu, the modest group of mostly adults all of a sudden got much larger when he arrived, growing to close to 100 people. That's because those fans' kids were sleeping in their cars and were woken up to join the group once Teemu pulled up.
Nevertheless, he stayed and signed for every last one of them. When I told him I couldn't believe that, he just laughed and said, "How could I not?!"
He’s been amazing. I’ve said this ever since I met him, that he’s a guy who comes to the rink with a smile on his face every single day. He works hard and he’s passionate about the game. I don’t think you’ll find a nicer guy in the NHL – in sports – than him. The way he is with the fans, the coaches, his teammates, everything he does is all about respect. That’s the way he carries himself.
He’s been great. “T” obviously has established himself as an elite player in this league for a long time. Anyone who has that kind of longevity, you can learn a lot from. He brings a lot to our locker room, and always has. That’s the biggest thing he’s taught me in the game, is how to enjoy it on a daily basis. I’ve told the story many times, but when we won the Cup in ’07, he said he was retiring, so I asked him for a signed stick. Then he signed one for me for the next three or four years before I finally gave up and stopped asking. I have four of them at home.
It’ll be an emotional game for everybody. We obviously have the playoffs coming up, but it’s his last regular season game and he’s done so much for this organization and hockey in general. For myself, he’s been a mentor ever since my first NHL game. I’m still kind of in awe looking over at him, knowing what he’s accomplished and the kind of guy he is. The passion he has kind of flows through our team. It’s going to be a special moment for him, but it’s a moment everyone is going to cherish, including the fans and including us. Going forward, there is no better way to send him out than going all the way.
I’ve played with a lot of very special players so far in my career. I’ve played with Getzlaf and Perry and Koivu and Crosby and Malkin. But I didn’t grow up idolizing them. When I was an 8-, 9-, 10-year-old kid, Teemu was one of the best players in the world. He was a player you grew up idolizing. To be a teammate of his now, to get to know him as a hockey player and personally, has just been so special. It’s been so much fun to play with him, but even cooler to get to know him and what he’s all about. They will be memories I’ll forever treasure.
He’s a great mentor. He plays the game so well, but he’s an even better guy in the room. It’s obviously a big blow to hockey that he’s done, but he’s given so much to the game. He’s probably the most passionate I’ve ever seen about it. I’m happy for him, and I hope Honda Center treats him well on that last night.
He was one of my biggest idols when I was growing up in Finland, and now I’ve had a chance to get to know him. He’s a big part of my career, and he’s helping me with everything. He’s even been loaning me his car. He’s such a nice guy, and we had some great times in the Olympics [for Team Finland] too. He will be missed.
What can really be said that hasn’t been said? He’s a great hockey player, and a fun guy to be around. When you’re teammates, you’re around each other a lot, and it’s a lot of fun coming to the rink when you’re teammates with someone like that. Whether it’s passing him the puck, and he’s usually putting it in the net, or having fun on the bus. I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of great players and great people, and he’s certainly one of them.
“T” has been amazing. He’s everything everyone thinks he is. He’s a legend. The first day I was here, he came and said hi. He always talks to the young guys, always helps you in any way he can, gives you tips. He’s got tons of energy. He’s just a great guy. It’s been an absolute honor playing with him the last four or five years.
He’s meant a lot to me. Obviously since Day 1 when I came here, I’ve just noticed him in the locker room always having fun, always having a smile on his face, coming to the rink every day and just enjoying every minute. It’s been great for everybody who’s been around him.
To be lucky enough to play with “T” has been a huge honor for me. I’ve learned a lot from him, not only on the ice but off the ice too. Just the way he treats people and the respect that he has for everybody around him – staff, coaches, everybody. That’s the one thing that will stick with me, and he’s been great to me, so it’s definitely been a privilege to play alongside him.
He’s had such a successful career, and everyone appreciates everything he does. For me growing up watching him play, it’s pretty cool playing on the same line as him. He’s the biggest role model that I’ve ever had in my hockey career, and it’s been a special moment to play with him. To get the chance to play alongside him this year is pretty neat. To get to play with Teemu Selanne, I don’t think any rookie would complain about that. Even just sitting beside him on the bench … The things he does, how he takes care of himself, the way he approaches everything, his smile and his face every practice and game day is pretty cool.
As I've previously mentioned in this space, the Contact Us emails we get through AnaheimDucks.com can be at times bewildering, sometimes frustrating and frequently inspiring. We got another good one just today:
My husband and I went to the Monday (3/31) game against the Winnipeg Jets. It was an amazing comeback and it was one of the best games we've ever experienced at the Honda Center.
The next day, we managed to catch the Ducks practice at Anaheim Ice. We were also able to grab some pictures and autographs from some of the players.
I just wanted to say, how awesome and nice the players are. They didn't deny any autographs or pictures. Even though it's after practice and they probably just want to go home, they were welcoming of the fans.
One player that stood out was Tim Jackman. He was friendly to the fans and I had no idea he was a funny guy. As my husband was counting down "1,2,3" to take a picture of us, Tim was like "Ducks!" and it made us giggle. And he has such a charming smile!
It might not be a big deal to the players, but as a fan it meant a lot to me. It was priceless and not only did they make my day, they made my entire year! I was extremely happy and giddy. I was also happy for my husband who managed to get Getzy's autograph on his Getzy jersey, because he's been wanting it for years. He was happy for me that I got my Hiller autograph. :)
I want to say thank you to the Ducks players and the organization for being so awesome to the fans and bringing smiles to our faces.
I am extremely proud to be a Ducks fan.
Thank you again.
Forever a Ducks fan,
To celebrate their eight-year anniversary, Twitter is giving people the ability to discover their first-ever tweet. We gathered some of the Ducks' first tweets (although a few of them were just retweets or replies) and posted them below. We also asked our fans to show us their first ones if they were Ducks-related.
@Matt_Beleskey Last day of camp tomorrow. Then to the real fun— Matt Beleskey (@Matt_Beleskey) September 20, 2010
What's up twitter, seems silly to tweet to 0 followers but I already committed to it— Nick Bonino (@NickBonino) November 7, 2011
first day of twitter, overcast in pretentious town— daniel winnik (@Danwinnik34) April 23, 2011
I'm thinking Emerson Etem is regretting this one...
goin rollerbladin' killin some hills!!— Emerson Etem (@tweetem_up) April 1, 2010
Apparently Ben Lovejoy was dealing with an imposter...
I'm in the twitter game to clear my name. @benlovejoy6 isn't nearly witty enough to be the real Ben.— ben lovejoy (@RevLovejoy6) October 30, 2011
Cam Fowler actually re-joined Twitter with his current handle, and used his first tweet back to chirp a (now former) teammate...
Kyle Palmieri had a little early trouble with the lingo...
let the controversial twatting begin— Kyle Palmieri (@kylepalmieri) August 14, 2011
@309steve celebrated Scott Niedermayer getting elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame...
@Matt_Beleskey Glad to hear you're OK, Matt. Rest up and hope to see you on the ice Friday night!— Phil (@philloveshockey) October 27, 2010
@SKEleven said the Ducks were the reason she joined Twitter in the first place...
Enjoying my three day weekend and anxiously waiting for tomorrows match up between the Ducks and the NY Rangers! GO DUCKS!— SK (@SKeleven) January 19, 2009
I finally gave in an joined but it's only so I can stalk my fav hockey team #anaheim ducks ;)— Cristina (@ducksfan89) March 9, 2013
@ducksfan713 kicked things off with a good old-fashioned chirping of a Sharks fan
@sharkie24 why do you guys get so amped up over a preseason game?maybe because you won't choke in the preseason?— michael (@ducksfan713) September 25, 2010
And the first tweet for famous Ducks fan @LadyTennisBall was apparently a reply to me...
@AdamJBrady a few extra TV's around the house to watch sports (mostly hockey) are always a good idea!! Definitely not a ridiculous idea!— Dawn (@LadyTennisBall) September 13, 2010
Incidentally, here was my cringe-worthy first effort...
I've decided I have a big enough ego to start Tweeting on a regular basis. So, let's see how this baby goes. I'm all atwitter. (God, I suck)— Adam Brady (@AdamJBrady) June 29, 2010
As you may or may not already know, one of my job responsibilities is periodically monitoring the emails that come to us through Contact Us on this website. And as you can imagine, when the team has lost a few games in a row and/or they trade away a popular player, the Contact Us emails can be ... let's just say intriguing. And as I'm sure you can also imagine, they are always well thought-out and impeccably written with perfect grammar, punctuation and capitalization.
Okay, maybe not.
But then there are those emails that make my day, a couple of which I've run in this blog before. The latest came from a man named Thomas Elwell and it read:
The little things ... On March 11th, upon arriving in Calgary to face off against the Flames the next day, your team graciously welcomed my son's Novice squad to view practice and meet the team post. I am not sure if this was completely cleared with all members but it happened and it changed the lives of several young boys, namely my 7-year-old son Owen.
You should be very proud of the young men that represent your organization and the city of Anaheim. Getz, Teemu, Jackman, Perry … a few amongst a fantastic group of guys that were genuinely kind to our boys. I just wanted your organization to know how much it was appreciated and thank your team for a moment that will last forever in the minds and hearts of 15 young boys (and us parents of course).