Ranking the best and worst beards of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Patric Hornqvist celebrates with the Stanley Cup. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Winning the Stanley Cup takes commitment and sacrifice, much like the sweat-soaked chin curtains hanging from the tired faces of your hockey heroes.

The playoff beard is like a badge of honor. Almost every player left standing at the end has gone months without shaving or even trimming their facial hair, resulting in various degrees of success.

So who did it best this year?

Because the Penguins and Predators spent the longest amount of time growing them out, we’ll limit our focus to those two teams.

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There’s one caveat when undertaking the noble task of ranking another man’s facial hair, however. For a player to be in the running for best playoff beard, he has to start from a relatively fresh face. So everyday beard-wearers like Ryan Ellis, Ian Cole and Nick Bonino are not included. We’re talking zero to 100. There is some wiggle room, but it has to be within reason.

With all that said, here’s the unofficial ranking of the best beards from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning with the worst.

Best of the bad

Olli Maatta

Olli Maatta during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Olli Maatta during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Joe Sargent/Getty).

That stache is trash, which is what makes it so great. Credit to Maatta for walking around for weeks with that thing on his lip.

Jake Guentzel

Jake Guentzel during Game 2 against the Blue Jackets (Jeanine Leech/Getty) vs. Jake Guentzel during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final (Joe Sargent/Getty).

This is about what you’d expect from a rosy-cheeked 22-year-old.

Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin during Game 1 against the Blackhawks (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Evgeni Malkin after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Justin K. Aller/Getty).

Evgeni Malkin’s Lenin with sideburns look never fails to disappoint. He should rock this full-time.

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby during Game 2 against the Blue Jackets (Gene J. Puskar/AP) vs. Sidney Crosby after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Mark Humphrey/AP).

There’s not many things Sidney Crosby has failed to achieve in his hockey career. Growing a decent beard is one of them.

Strong effort

Pekka Rinne

Pekka Rinne during Game 1 against the Blackhawks (Jonathan Daniel/Getty) vs. Pekka Rinne after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Bruce Bennett/Getty).

Pekka Rinne struggled to fill in the cheeks, but perhaps no player had a closer shave to start the playoffs.

Pontus Aberg

Pontus Aberg during Game 4 against the Blackhawks (Mark Humphrey/AP) vs. Pontus Aberg during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final (Gregory Shamus/Getty).

Not a bad debut for one of the youngest guys on the list.

Carter Rowney

Carter Rowney during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Carter Rowney during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final (Bruce Bennett/Getty).

Neck beard is on point, but a little thin in spots.

Calle Jarnkrok

Calle Jarnkrok during Game 4 against the Blackhawks (Danny Murphy/Getty) vs. Calle Jarnkrok prior to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (John Russell/Getty).

Calle Jarnkrok had great coverage, but got docked points due to pre-existing growth.

Conor Sheary

Conor Shearyd during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Conor Sheary after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Frederick Breedon/Getty)

Started from the bottom, quality beard.

Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs.
Phil Kessel after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Bruce Bennett/Getty).

Phil Kessel had too much of a head start to be ranked this high, but it’s The Phil and his Yukon Cornelius impression always deserves praise.

Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher during Game 1 against the Blackhawks (Robin Alam/Getty) vs. Mike Fisher after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports).

The final product is as good as any, but just a little too much pre-playoff stubble to be in the running for No. 1.

Contenders

Ron Hainsey

Ron Hainsey during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets vs. Ron Hainsey after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Joe Sargent/Getty).

Ron Hainsey waited a long time for the chance to let his beard run wild, and as expected it filled in nicely.

Trevor Daley

Trevor Daley during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Trevor Daley after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Justin K. Aller/Getty).

Another strong entry, but it’s almost too perfect.

Patric Hornqvist

Patric Hornqvist in Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Patric Hornqvist after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Hornqvist’s beard is a prize winner, but Schultz’s below is just slightly more haggard. Maybe it’s the color. Either way, full marks to Hornqvist.

Champion

Justin Schultz

Justin Schultz during Game 1 against the Blue Jackets (Joe Sargent/Getty) vs. Justin Schultz after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (Bruce Bennett/Getty).

The final product epitomizes everything that is right about the playoff beard. Unkempt and full coverage, from lip to neck. He also started about as clean as a guy who can grow that kind of beard could.

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