POSTED ON TUESDAY, 04.30.2013 / 7:20 PM
Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
The Playoff Beard
Palmieri is favored by most Ducks to grow the best one. Says Lovejoy, “Palmieri is a fairly hairy dude, so I think he would grow a very grizzly beard.”This feature also appears in Ducks Digest, the official publication of the Anaheim Ducks.
It is a Stanley Cup tradition almost as engrained as the Cup itself. The longer and thicker it gets, the better you’re doing. And there is a certain point of pride in growing one to the point of unruliness and maximum scruffiness.
It’s the playoff beard, a long-held tradition in which players grow their facial hair at the start of the postseason and refuse to shave until their team is either eliminated or they are lifting the Cup over their heads.
The custom is believed to have started with the great New York Islanders teams of the 1980s, which must have been doing something right, since they won four straight Cups. Some say it goes back to the elite Montreal teams of the late ‘70s. Either way, it has spread well beyond the NHL – to minor, junior and European leagues and, in the case of the Ducks, even to many of the male team employees.
The frequent itchiness and grumblings of wives and girlfriends is a small price to pay for such a sacred custom. Among the legendary Ducks, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer each had bodacious beards by the time they captured the Cup with a Game 5 victory over Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Final. Goalie J.S. Giguere did not grow one that year, but had a strikingly thick one by the time he was handed the Conn Smyth Trophy in a seven-game defeat to New Jersey in the 2003 Final.
For most of the current Ducks, growing playoff beards is on the agenda, with high hopes that they will be forced to keep it for a very long time. Although, some players have greater expectations for their whiskers than others.
I actually have a pretty manly playoff beard, even though I do not enjoy having facial hair. It itches, and I get made fun of around here because I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I like keeping clean and nicely shaven. But I do it because it’s an important tradition. It’s the profession I’ve chosen, and I’ve been lucky enough to go on some long playoff runs and grow it out because of it. You tough it out because it’s that sort of bunker mentality. Everyone grows one, and I look forward to having a beard for over eight weeks coming up.
Niedermayer’s salt-and-pepper look during the ’07 Stanley Cup Final is unquestionably the greatest playoff beard in Ducks history. Emerson Etem
I’ve got a little something going, not too much. When it grows, it comes in pretty thick. It’s nothing special, nothing really to brag about. I usually grow it out, but I’ve got to start like a month and a half before. It takes quite a bit of time. Once it gets going, it’s greasy and nasty.
I’m pretty excited about it. I had a little one going last year when we were in Syracuse [of the AHL], but it was only for a week or two. I’m really looking forward to it this year. It comes in very fast for me. It gets thick, but it doesn’t really grow that long. I don’t think I’ve gone past two weeks or so, because it can look pretty bad.
I’ve done it in the past and I’m going to do it again. I don’t trim it. I just let it get wild. Pretty soon my face will turn a shade of red from the hair color.
It’s part of the tradition and I don’t trim it at all. It gets pretty good.
I’ve been trying every time, but my growth isn’t strong. It’s tough to tell. Trust me, I don’t have to touch it. It’s barely there.
I’ve been working on once since Christmas, but as you can see, it’s not really successful so I’ll probably have to skip that. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot growing. Secondly, I don’t really like it under the mask. It starts to get really itchy, and I never really got into it. I tried a couple times, but it [felt] more annoying than having it help me.
Yeah, I’ll be growing one. It won’t be much, so I’m not going to trim it or clean it up.
Giguere had a substantial beard by the time he accepted the Conn Smythe trophy following Game 7 of the ’03 Final. Meanwhile, opinions vary on who will have the best and worst beards, but one young Duck was an almost unanimous choice:
“Palms” [Kyle Palmieri] would be top 3 on the team for sure, since he’s so hairy anyway. I bet Bobby can grow a pretty good one. We have a pretty clean-cut team for the most part. The worst would probably be Viktor [Fasth]. Probably the nastiest and grossest is Sami [Vatanen].
Palmieri is a fairly hairy dude, so I think he would grow a very grizzly beard. As for the others, some of these European guys might struggle. Viktor [Fasth] seems into his appearance, and I look forward to seeing him and Jonas try and grow nice beards.
Palmieri, definitely. Daniel Winnik is pretty hairy, and I think Ben Lovejoy can grow a pretty strong playoff beard too. The worst? Cam Fowler and Corey Perry, hands down.
I’d say I’m in the running for the best, but there will be a couple guys who can definitely grow a nice one. Bobby already has a good one at times. I’ve seen pictures of “T” [Teemu Selanne] from ’07. I expect him to have a good one.
Selanne had a nice growth going in the '07 playoffs, but Beauchemin is not impressed. Lydman
Palmieri is good, Beauch [Francois Beauchemin] might be good. Maybe Sheldon [Souray]. Bryan Allen might be a sneaky strong playoff beard guy. The worst would be me, maybe Viktor. I don’t think Hillsy [Hiller] has a good one.”
Palmieri would have the best, probably. Bobby Ryan’s looking pretty good right now. Shelly [Souray], the new addition, I don’t know how he’s looking. Daniel Winnik could be a good one too. It’s definitely interesting. Corey Perry would be the worst. It’s out there. I don’t want to throw myself under the bus, but it’s Corey Perry.
“Palms.” I mean, just look at his face. The worst would probably be me or Toni Lydman.
Shelly, Palmieri, Bobby. I don’t know about Daniel Winnik’s beard. For the worst? I’d go with Teemu. He’s got that weird jawline beard thing going on.”"
The Ducks Live Play By Play Broadcasters
Steve Carroll returned to AM 830 for the Ducks 2012-2013 NHL season, along with Dan Wood who covered the Ducks for years for the OC Register. And Josh Brewster returns taking your calls after away games on Duck Calls. Check out our Game Schedule
page which lists the dates and times for all of this season's Ducks games.
The Ducks website: ducks.nhl.com
Steve is in his thirteenth season as the Ducks radio play-by-play voice. A veteran of 32 years as a play-by-play announcer, he joined the club prior to the 1999-2000 season.
After landing his first play-by-play job as voice of the Mineral Area Junior College Men's Basketball Team (Flatriver, Missouri) in 1976, Carroll has gone on to broadcast in several sports at both the college and professional levels. The long list of teams include the Nashville Sounds, Huntsville Stars, Iowa Cubs, New Orleans Storm, Vanderbilt University basketball and the Nashville Knights. He has been employed in nine states and has called action in every state with the exception of Alaska and Idaho. At one point in the mid-1990s, Carroll was in Nashville broadcasting for five teams in three sports, while freelancing for a newspaper.
Carroll joined the Ducks after spending the previous two seasons handling the radio play-by-play duties for the New Orleans Brass of the ECHL, including serving in the communications, media relations and corporate sales departments. He also called games for the New Orleans Zephyrs, a Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, from 1996-98.
The 51-year-old Carroll has previous NHL broadcasting experience with the Philadelphia Flyers, serving as radio play-by-play announcer for the 1995-96 season. He also called action for the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL during the 1985-86 season and the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) from 1981-85.
A native of St. Louis, Carroll is also a contributor to anaheimducks.com, the club's official team website. On behalf of the team he does numerous speaking engagements and charity work during the season and in the summer months. Carroll also co-hosted "This Week in Angels Baseball" for two years on Adelphia Cable in Southern California.
Steve and his wife Rhonda, reside in Ladera Ranch.
Radio Color Analyst
Dan Wood enters his third season as radio color analyst for the Anaheim Ducks. Wood, who was named to his current position on Aug. 24, 2009, joins Steve Carroll in the Ducks radio broadcast booth for all pre-, regular and postseason games, led by flagship station AM 830 KLAA. In addition to his duties as radio color analyst, Wood also contributes to AnaheimDucks.com.
A 19-year veteran writer of NHL hockey, Wood covered the Ducks for the Orange County Register from 2000-09, including the club's run to the 2007 Stanley Cup championship. Prior to joining the Register, Wood covered the San Jose Sharks for the Contra Costa Times from the team's inception in 1991 until 2000.
A professional sportswriter since June 1980, Wood has previously covered Stanford University football, men's and women's basketball, Bay Area college baseball and St. Mary's College basketball, as well as high school and local sports.
Born in Ely, NV, Wood was raised in Livermore, CA, in the East Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Livermore High School in 1976 and San Jose State University in 1980 (journalism major, sociology minor). He currently resides in Anaheim Hills with wife Kim and son Kenny. His daughter, Jennifer, resides in Jacksonville, FL.
Duck Calls Sports Talk Show Host
Josh is the host of "Duck Calls," the Anaheim Ducks' postgame radio show after road games on AM830 (KLAA) in SoCal. He founded the Western Hockey Network in 2000, producing all-hockey radio programming as well as print media, covering the world's greatest game from Southern California. Josh is also the producer of the groundbreaking web radio series, "Hockeytalk Audio Features," available for listening at www.hockeytalk.biz.
He also appears regularly on XM Satellite Radio. On November 3, 2007, he filled in as color commentator on the Ducks' radio broadcast from Phoenix, calling the game with Steve Carroll. Brewster also appeared on WNSA FM in Buffalo as an NHL commentator from 2002-04.
His hockey writing has been featured in The Hockey News and Hockey Digest. A 20-plus year veteran radio and voiceover personality, Josh has been heard narrating television series for Animal Planet and USA Network, as well as countlesss radio and TV commercials across America.
He lives with his wife, Catherine, and his sons, Brent and Shane, in Los Angeles.