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Who Has The Best Playoff Beard?

by Alison High / San Jose Sharks
His teammates agree - Niclas Wallin has the best playoff beard on the team.

Eighteen days ago, Sharks players put down their razors and started one of hockey’s greatest traditions: growing the playoff beard.

One individual in particular has received the most praise for his beard and it’s even earned him a new nickname in the locker room: “Zeus”. It’s thick and it’s grizzly. And it belongs to defenseman Niclas Wallin.

“It’s just some guys got it and some guys don’t,” said Wallin about his beard-growing ability. “There are a few men in here that definitely have it.”

Click here to view the Playoff Beard Photo Gallery.

Of the 10 Sharks players interviewed, all agreed that Wallin had the best playoff beard on the team. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle Torrey Mitchell, Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Jamal Mayers, Devin Setoguchi and Antti Niemi believed the 36-year-old was hairs above the rest in the beard growing department.

“Wallin for sure,” said Mitchell.

“Oh geez, best beard on the team?” said Thornton. “Niclas Wallin.”

“Wally’s is pretty fierce right now,” said Mayers.

Ben Eager skates away with the puck after Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey finals in Chicago.

Even Wallin voted for himself.

“For sure,” said Wallin. “There’s no question about that.”

A few teammates acknowledged that Wallin had some competition coming his way by a dark horse: left wing Ben Eager.

“Eager’s is going to come in nice,” said Demers. “He’s going to look like a big burly bear. It’s light, but it gets really thick. But right now, it would have to be Zeus over here (motioning to Wallin).”

Last postseason with the Chicago Blackhawks, Eager grew out his beard for three months. He had a real wolverine/lumberjack thing going by the time the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.  

But Wallin isn’t afraid of his competition. He said that in about a week, he’s going to unveil his secret weapon.

“I think we got a couple of sneaky ones coming,” said Wallin of his teammates. “But I’m not worried at all. I’ve got a secret weapon. In another week or so, I can start combing it up so it gets really fluffy. I’m not really worried about it.”

The Sharks are growing their playoffs beards to participate in a long-standing hockey tradition, but also to help raise money for the Sharks Foundation through the Beard-A-Thon. Currently, Setoguchi and Couture are battling for the top spot among fundraisers and battling over who has a better beard.

“Definitely, I have the better beard,” Setoguchi said. “It’s not great, but it’s coming in well. My moustache is coming in pretty thick as well. Cooch’s just looks patchy and uncoordinated.”

“We’ve got Cooch with a beautiful moustache," said Niclas Wallin.

Obviously when asked who had the best beard between the two, Couture said, “I do of course.”

But the team is split about which of the two actually has the better beard.

“It’s not even close,” Mayers said. “Does Logan even have hair on his face? Seto’s going to win that battle.”

“I gotta go with Logan,” Thornton said.

“Oh, Seto by far,” Mitchell said. “Logan only has a little moustache.”

“Oh God, those two?” Demers said. “Can I say neither?”

“I think Logan’s is pretty cool,” Niemi said.

“Seto has a weird one because he has like an arrow coming up – there’s no hair growing there (pointing to his neck),” Wallin said. “We’ve got Cooch with a beautiful moustache.”

Even though they’re in competition with each other, Setoguchi admitted he had some ideas for how Couture could improve his beard.

“Definitely, I have the better beard,” Setoguchi said. “It’s not great, but it’s coming in well. My moustache is coming in pretty thick as well. Cooch’s just looks patchy and uncoordinated.”

“Actually, he could probably take a crayon or a felt pen and color it in,” Setoguchi said with a smile. “Maybe take some hair from his head and put some glue on it and put it on his head.”

Wallin had another idea.

“We’ve got to start really thinking about getting some spray paint for some of the boys,” Wallin said. “I don’t know exactly how to do it, but I’ve seen some guys – some baseball players from last year – that look pretty good. It would be nice to try that.”

If you would like to pledge for Setoguchi, Couture, Wallin or any of the Sharks beards, please click here to be directed to the Beard-A-Thon page.

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