Like a lot of us here in the Ducks offices – not to mention most of the players – I have elected to grow a playoff beard. It’s something I’ve done in unison with many of the men on the Ducks staff the last three postseasons (though it’s important to note I did not
grow one during the ’07 Cup run).
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.