The Washington Capitals have been in the playoffs for just under two months now. Unlike every season save one in the last four decades, this has been sufficient time for our special boys to grow some mighty fearsome playoff beards.
But, the playoffs will last somewhere between one to three more games, so if we’re going to catalog and rank the Caps’ beards, we need to do it right now.
What follows is an authoritative and comprehensive accounting of the playoff beards of the 2017-18 Washington Capitals, sorted into tiers about which there can be no debate, so please no comments on this article. Thanks in advance.
The apotheosis of beards, worn by men who were created by god primarily for the purpose of wearing beards.
Thick and bushy, but it’s the red that elevates Holtby (.923 save percentage, 2.13 goals against average) to the survivalist tier. If you get lost in the woods for several days and then you see this beard, you’re either definitely safe or you’re definitely about to be hunted, Most Dangerous Game style.
As of Game Five, Alex Ovechkin’s 2017-18 playoffs will have gone on ten games longer than any of his previous playoffs. With each passing game, more is revealed in the intricate tapestry that is the Ovi Beard. And while the hair atop his head is mostly salt-and-pepper these days, this silver fox’s whiskers still have quite a bit of youthful color.
This Czech lion came out of nowhere (Chicago), joining the Caps late in the season and completely reinvigorating their beard game. The shape here is remarkable, with delicate strands cascading in sumptuous, complimentary arcs equal in their elegance to Kempny’s breakout passes.
From the sophistication of the Continent to the workaday simplicity of Brett Connolly’s thick mane. Reminiscent of late-70s Levon Helm, this beard says in a southern drawl, “I’m here to party, y’all. Who’s got the hooch?”
Not everyone can have a legendary-tier beard. For those who fall short (mostly millennials, we should note), there’s always second place.
Is this the NHL Stanley Cup Finals or the pages of GQ Magazine? Wilson’s facial hair sets a good example for any men out there who, like Tom, are disadvantaged in the face-looks department and need a cover-up. This one takes just under two months to grow, and then no one will have to look at your ugly mug anymore.
Ah, our first blond entry into the lists comes on the chin of the dapper Dane, Lars Eller. With minimal effort, once the postseason concludes, Eller should consider carving this luscious beard into an Errol Flynn/Van Dyke look.
Around his chin and neck, Kuznetsov certainly has the thickness to compete with the very best in the league, but he needs to work on the full face if he wants to become a complete beard-wearer. There are still too many holes on his cheeks, and that just won’t work in today’s NHL blog novelty article about facial hair.
Criminally unappreciated in its time, Brooks Orpik’s beard is astonishing in its consistency, though lacking in imagination. The color, a subtle woodsy auburn, is perhaps best suited for a bygone era of beard-growing, but one would be foolish not to acknowledge its utility and appeal today.
The Grubeard seems like a good concept with poor execution – like it started growing fine, but it took a wrong turn somewhere early, and ever since has been languishing in neglect. Still, there’s potential in this beard, and one could easily imagine a bright future for it.
As aspirational frame for Carlson’s face, this beard has the tincture of riotous youth that belies Carlson’s maturity. While some might consider this an incomplete effort or even a beard belonging to a lower tier, in fact it is a lovely complement to a multi-faceted 28-year-old defenseman who lives within his means and would never exert leverage in prolonged contract negotiations.
No one can deny that you have hair on your face, that’s for sure. It’s definitely, um, present?
Good work, Nick, you special child.
A gold star for Jay. Way to stick to it!
We’re so proud of the progress you’ve made, TJ. Everyone knows how hard you worked.
Look who is blossoming into a young man right in front of our eyes! Christian and his blonde beard will be such a hit at 8th grade prom.
It’s entirely possible no one told these folks about the whole playoff beard thing.
This would be a fine look if you were, say, in the band 311, but Jakub Vrana is actually a professional hockey player for the Washington Capitals.
Oh no honey, what are you doing?
Peter Hassett contributed to this article
Headline Photos: @capitals and Cara Bahniuk
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