Rick returns to write on a less controversial topic that most people can get behind: the art of the playoff beard. If you have any rules to add, throw them in the comments.
Penguin fans, the time has come. As Pat ably reminded us below, its time to forget about the dark years and get out your 1992 Stanley Cup t-shirt, put up that old Mario Lemieux poster, think of Ronny Francis and Kevin Stevens and all the magic that occurred in the Igloo, and dream of what it would have been like if you and Phil Bourque did take Lord Stanley on the river and party all summer.
If you’re a Penguins fan, you’ll do anything to get back to that point. I’m here to tell you how you can help. First, you can cheer loudly and obnoxiously at the games, root against Philadelphia for the entire length of time they are in the playoffs (which will be 6 games, BTW), and show your Pens spirit every day either by taking your Pens coffee cup to work or leaving a Crosby screensaver on your computer.
You should then trust that Ray Shero has already done a fantastic amount of work in setting up this Pens team to get further in the playoffs than last year's team. He has acquired Petr Sykora, Hal Gill, Darryl Sydor, and Pascal Dupuis. Each and every one of these players will greatly help our playoff run. Why? Because these dudes can grow sick beards.
Hal Gill sports an eternal five o’clock shadow, even at noon. Pascal Dupuis is so freaking hairy that he has a team trainer shave him before each period during the regular season. Petr isn’t much of a beard guy, but can grow a thick goatee. Sydor? Look at the pic at the top taken after he won the cup with the Lightning: that beard and hair was responsible for 2 game winning goals and 2 assists in the Cup run. Had Brad Richards not been superhuman, Darryl Sydor’s beard would’ve won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Last years’ team was young - it takes age to grow beards and to win cups. The Pens are another year older and a few players hairier, but they could still use your help. If you want to take the ultimate step to help your team, its time to grow the playoff beard.
1. You don’t have to commit to the beard, just do something else that is a ritual. Maybe you set your alarm clock to 9:18 (Dupuis : Hossa) everyday. I don’t care what, just do something.
2. Once you commit, you commit. No shaving because it gets hot in June or your parents want you to for graduation or work or anything like that. Once you’re in, you’re in. Don’t mess things up for the Pens now. I am sure that some asshole shaved his beard allowing David Volek to score his overtime goal because he had a job interview or something much less important than a Stanley cup the next day. Don’t do that to Pittsburgh. DON’T BE THAT GUY.
3. If you can’t grow a beard and still try, or can only grow something that makes you resemble a Russian porn star, be aware that you may only be bringing the beard karma down. We're striving for quality over quantity here.
4. If you can’t grow a beard, but one of your good friends can, you are required to try and get him to do it. He must be tough enough to put up with a beard even when it gets hot and also a Pens fan. Jean Sebastian Giguere of the Mighty Ducks hated his beard, but because teammates told him he could grow a “nasty one”, he “did it for the team.” It is your job to relay this spirit to your friends.
5. If you do grow a beard, you have to let your hair grow too. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. That’s the rule.
6. After a loss, and only after a loss, you are allowed to trim the beard. TRIM DOES NOT MEAN SHAVE! If you are confused about this concept, ask your girlfriend. If you are single, you can also ask the girlfriend of a Senators fan after you get done slamming her behind his back.
7. After a win, you do nothing to the beard. Nothing. Even if the next playoff series is a week away. DON’T TOUCH IT.
8. The last one was a lie. You should thank it and ask it to continue giving you luck and wisdom through a playoff run. (If you grow a playoff beard, you will become smarter. Or you will appear smarter, one of the two.)
9. If you know someone who grows a beard for another team and that team is eliminated, you must make sure that he A.) shaves the beard and does not just try to hop on another team’s bandwagon and B.) hears comments like “babyface” or “hairless rat” for the remainder of the playoffs and not only in person but random postcards in the mail work too (just be careful to watch your paper trail). I suggest the latter, because according to a New York paper “hairless rat” was the words a prostitute used to describe a certain part of Sean Avery.
10. If you have a friend or girlfriend who doesn’t like the beard, tell them to fuck off. Penguins have BY FAR the hottest fan base around. If you lose one girl because of your commitment to a sports team, you will in turn pick up three much hotter girls because of that same commitment.
By following these 10 simple rules, we can help the younger baby-faced Pens. Good luck with your journey. I’d write more, but hey, I gotta go shave…
Be sure to check out Pat's article below, and Seth's article at EN which rates players' chances of growing the best beard this postseason.