New York Islanders

I Would Shave My Beard, but We’ve Become Attached: A Brief History of the Playoff Beard

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It is a tradition that has become both a fan-favorite and an essential glue of solidarity between NHL fans and players.  The playoff beard.  Many fans grow one.  Many fans wish they could grow one.  Almost all NHL players grow one while they are in the hunt for the Cup.  While many of us (myself, included) partake in this superstitious ritual, I would venture to guess that there are some out there who do not know the roots of its tradition.

Nowadays, if someone mentions the New York Islanders, it’s likely going to be a conversation about how terrible they’ve been in the past decade, how Rick Dipietro might be one of the biggest busts in recent memory, how they may or may not get a new stadium, or how John Tavares simply deserves to be surrounded by a better team.  It’s easy to forget that the Islanders of the 1980s had one of the most dominant and storied dynasties in NHL history.

In 1980, the Islanders, with the likes of Clark Gillies, Gord Lane, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, and Ken Morrow, found themselves in the playoffs after an impressive 110 point season.  As a sign of solidarity, many of the players decided to grow beards during their Cup run.  Well, as fate would have it, the 1980 Islanders won the Cup.  In fact, they won the next three Cups after that as well.  The Islanders won an impressive 19 consecutive playoff series, while growing the playoff beards.  A tradition was born.

Although the beard-growing tradition took a break after the Islanders dynasty ended, it made resurgence in the 1990s and is now a league-wide phenomenon.

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Blackhawks Acquire Mini-Serious

Photo: Zimbio.com

Today it was announced that the Blackhawks have acquired David Toews from the New York Islanders for future considerations. David Toews is the younger brother of Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews.

The younger Toews is 21 years old, also a center, and shoots right. He played for the Brandon Wheat Kings last season, and their web site lists him at 5’10″ and 175 lbs. He notched 48 points in 60 games last year, adding 7 points in 6 playoff games.

Word is that the younger Toews will be added to the Blackhawks’ roster for the rookie tournament in Oshawa.

Next on the list: Brent Seabrook’s younger brother Keith (yeah, hilarious isn’t it?) and two of Patrick Kane’s younger sisters. Man, would THAT be an interesting locker room…

If we get more dirt on this we’ll pass it along.

Better than your worst: Twice the Boxing with ‘Hawks/Senators/Islanders

As usual, Mondays after two weekend games gets you a double dose of Boxing. Boom

"That's my puck, baby! Don't you EVER touch my puck!" (Chicago Tribune)

I can sit here and say, “Yeah we got four points, but look at the competition,” but I may be in the minority of people who say the Blackhawks could be turning a corner.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s because the ‘Hawks played spectacular in Friday’s 3-2 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators and Sunday’s 5-0 win against the New York Islanders. They didn’t.

The reason I bring up the possibility of a stretch of improved play is simply because of momentum. Sometimes, a couple of crappy wins can turn out to be the saving grace for a struggling team. The reason? The players remove the word “crappy” and look at the bare basics: A win is a win.

There won’t be any bold predictions from me guaranteeing this, nor will I say it cannot happen. But I’m leaning more on the side of this weekend being good for the Blackhawks’ 2011. Maybe it’s just the meatball in me.

Patrick Kane looks like he’s finally fully healthy. More importantly, he looks like he cares. His Give A Fuck has been broken for most of this season, so hopefully that got repaired along with his ankle.

The penalty kill still blows, though they killed their one against the Isles. That ended five straight de-pants-ings on the kill.

And how about dat der Corey Crawford guy der. First shutout of the season Sunday, and it was well deserved.

Not gonna waste a ton of time going over two games you’ve already seen, so here’s Boxing. As always, click the images to enlarge.

First up, ‘Hawks/Sens from Friday…

Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Sens, followed by ‘Hawks/Isles

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