Playoffs mean a lot of things. Hope, stress, excitement, a chance at the Cup.
But none of those are important.
You know what is?
beards are important, imo
— ari (@thirtyfourseven) February 23, 2015
Playoffs mean beards. Playoff beards, to be specific. The Flames are a team without much playoff experience, and therefore, very little playoff beard experience. On the plus side, they have a number of guys who can grow some pretty great facial hair. On the minus side, as a particularly young team, they have a number of guys who can’t. On the plus side, some of them can! On the minus side, some of the older guys can’t.
The great thing about the playoffs is everyone is going to be forced to try, and the results are going to range from impressive to hilarious. Considering how sports are primarily about entertainment, well, this is another nice little side effect.
Let’s take a look at how good the Flames are at beards, from best to worst:
1. Brandon Bollig
This is exactly what Bollig was brought in for. Finally, it’s Brandon’s time to shine. The Flames wanted experience? They got it. Just look at that thing. Deep, dark, and full as heck, and it’s been like that all season. Is Bollig ever without a beard? I definitely do not want to know because I’m pretty sure at many times throughout the season the beard is the only reason I’ve put up with him.
Also, look at that chest hair creeping out from under his jersey. Damn dude, how hairy are you?
2. David Schlemko
Schlemmers came on as a late challenger, and boy, he’s got a good one on him. Full and dark and looks like it could get absolutely wild if not tended to. He did shave once during his short Flames tenure though, and that was disappointing. Keep it in check if you must Dave, but don’t rid the world of that beauty.
3. TJ Brodie
TJ Brodie is literally perfect in every way possible and his facial hair only enhances that. Dude occasionally shaves throughout the season and has his full beard back within like, three games, every time. I’ve spent a few years now excited to see just what would happen when he has to leave it growing for an extended period of time and I’m so happy his first playoff appearance is giving us that chance. I believe in you, Teej.
4. Joni Ortio
Joni’s a late entrant, but he counts because Karri Ramo’s status is uncertain and he’s not going back to Adirondack, anyway. He looks good with or without it, but with is pretty appreciated. Get that thing growing for an extended period of time and there’s no doubt in my mind it’ll look amazing.
5. Dennis Wideman
Give Dennis the chance, and he can provide you with something very full and very ginger. He’s worn it throughout the regular season, even, so a bearded Wideman is nothing new, but having him grow it out over the course of a few weeks – and maybe even a month if we can get it that far – would provide something far superior. He’s one of the older guys on the blueline, though, so this is just expected.
6. Deryk Engelland
Engelland’s the other elder on the blueline, and not only does he have age, but he’s been deep in the playoffs. And that means having had the chance to grow a beard over a month-plus. It’s not as thoroughly full as Wideman’s, but it’s not far off either; not to mention the fact that it’s dark so that definitely points in his favour.
7. David Jones
It isn’t even the playoffs yet, and that’s already quality. Jones is one of the older guys present, so it makes sense; still, that thing looks like it could get nice and full if he had to grow it out long enough. Which, hopefully, he soon will.
8. Josh Jooris
The Flames have been filled with rookies all season, and one of them was a bit older than the others. Not that 24 is old, but for a rookie, it kinda is. Fortunately, Jooris isn’t putting that age to waste, since he can pretty clearly get something going. Now just get it going for an extended period of time. I believe in his untapped potential, both as an NHLer and an NHLer growing a playoff beard.
9. Corey Potter
Corey Potter: not a super great defenceman. Corey Potter: can definitely grow a beard. Corey Potter: has never really had the chance to show off a playoff beard. Hopefully that all changes starting now. He can even show it off from the pressbox. As long as it’s there. That’s the important part.
10. Raphael Diaz
Diaz was there just last year. And he went pretty far. And he can clearly do some good things with the opportunity, especially in that whole moustache region. God… that’s a good one. Please come back, Diaz, if only so the Flames can play more than five defencemen again. That’d increase the chance of seeing that beard again. And we’d all be winners in that situation.
11. Mark Giordano
Gio’s pretty much always got something going on, albeit usually more of a five o’clock shadow than a proper beard. So if he could make a miraculous recovery, that would probably extend the Flames’ playoff chances, and his own beard-growing chances. Dude’s Italian and has dark features. I very, very much believe in the captain to come through.
12. Karri Ramo
Ramo has had his chin lined all season long. Combine that with his very curly hair and man, things could get really, really great. Also I’ve never really thought before how much he kinda looks like a reverse-Olli Jokinen. Must be a combination of the lips and Olli’s amazing moustache growing ability flipped around. Man, imagine those two together– Actually don’t.
13. Paul Byron
I probably wouldn’t have expected it from him, but the little guy looks like he’s got it in him. He’s usually sporting at least something, however faint, throughout the year, but if he lets it grow, well, it can get there. Having dark hair only helps his cause. Just as on the ice, I trust him to do the right thing here.
Also, I miss him.
14. Kris Russell
He’s a little light, but I’m sure if given the chance to fill out, Russell would be able to bring some real good stuff to the table. Although I’m not too sure I’d be a fan of whatever look he’d pull off with a full beard and his longer hair. It’d be worth it, though, because playoff beard.
15. Lance Bouma
Bouma tends to be clean shaven more often than not, but a couple of times this season he’s sported some scruff. And it has been good scruff. He just needs to give it the chance to fill out. Hopefully he isn’t out too long, and the Flames are in too long, so we can see that become a reality.
16. Matt Stajan
Stajan’s blond, which doesn’t usually look too impressive, but he’s got this part down. This is only his second-ever playoffs since he played three games with the Leafs (haha Leafs in the playoffs! That’s funny) 11 years ago (that explains it some), so he’s just as new to much of this specific experience as many of the younger players on the roster. I hope he has a good one to remember; he’s a pretty key part in the Flames’ centre depth right now.
17. Ladislav Smid
Smiddy’s been out for a while now, but he’s still signed for another two years for a fair chunk of change, so we can’t exactly forget about him. Look at that beaming face, why would you want to? He’s got it neatly trimmed here, but who knows what he could do if he let it grow out in full? He’s only ever really known total failure and incompetence with the Oilers, so he should take advantage of this whole playoff situation while he can, even if he won’t be playing.
18. Drew Shore
Shore’s got the hints of something starting, but his lighter hair and youth mean it’s going to take some time. The good news is, if things go well, he’ll have plenty of time.
19. Mikael Backlund
Mickis is going to have the absolute dirtiest ‘stache of the playoffs AND I AM SO READY FOR IT.
I don’t know if there’s going to be anything else, but it’s going to be an incredible moustache, there’s no denying that.
20. Jiri Hudler
Hudler wishes he could compete with Backlund. He can’t, of course, but I’m sure he’ll give it his all. Although I must admit to being concerned over that whole chin situation from not too long ago. And what was on it. And if he can do any more than that. But probably not.
What kind of veteran example is Hudler supposed to be setting here, exactly? Figure it out, man. Playoff-clinching goals are even better when there’s a good beard to go with them.
21. Mason Raymond
That’s Mason Raymond in the Final.
My hopes are not high.
Also, ugly jersey.
22. Jonas Hiller
… Anything’s possible, right? This is our playoff starter, friends. He’s no Ortio, not even close to being a Ramo, but I guess if you want to judge based on actual goaltending ability he’s probably the best option. I GUESS.
23. Tyler Wotherspoon
Is it possible? Maybe?? He looks like he can grow a chin strap, at the very least. A light one, but it is something, and at this point, it’s effort that counts.
24. Sean Monahan
Mony’s been pretty quick to establish himself as a key player on this team, and as a force to be reckoned with throughout the league. The facial hair situation is more of a work in progress, though. Or at least I really hope so, because if that’s the best a boy with such nice hair is ultimately going to be able to do… well, disappointing wouldn’t even begin to cover it.
25. Joe Colborne
Is he even trying?? Oh no.
26. Markus Granlund
The important thing is, there are hints of something there, and for a 21-year-old blond kid, I’ll take what I can get.
Great resting bitch face, though.
27. Michael Ferland
Ferland is fast making a case to be a full-time NHLer sooner rather than later. He’s been a force to deal with in the final regular season games, and even forced Bollig out of the lineup. He’s definitely not going to replace that beard any time soon, though. Or probably ever.
28. Johnny Gaudreau