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It usually involves that kid who was in a wheelchair on Degrassi or some hashtag I dont understand or something to do with Disney Jr. But the word "beard" drew me in, and on upon further investigation I discovered that "peak beard" was about contemporary popular cultures threshold for beard wearing, and the notion that the age of the beard may be over. This seemed sacrilegious to me, because here in late April we sit on the precipice of the climax of beard season: winter is slowly receding and the NHL playoffs bring with them the greatest sports tradition of all-time, the playoff beard. Peak beard in April? Pfft. Thats like writing of December that weve hit "peak Santa", or of AC/DC weve hit "peak guitar", or of a wedding weve hit "peak open bar". As we settle into the first round of the playoffs, beards among NHLers are about to take form. We are awash in the infancy of stubble. In two months whichever teams are left battling will look like theyre en route to Bonnaroo post-pucks. It should be noted that Ive worn a beard since puberty allowed it, and a razor has insulted my cheeks just once in the past twenty years. I revel in playoff beards. They make me feel at home. I wear a playoff beard in August. And as we got through the first weekend of the playoffs a few days ago, which was also Easter, Id be remiss if I didnt mention the best playoff beard ever: Jesus. Dude rocked his beard into the post-post season, and according to scripture will still be rocking the playoff beard when he comes back. The story of the playoff beard is well known: It started some thirty years ago during the New York Islanders dynasty of the 80s. (For our younger readers the Islanders were once a good hockey team, before fishermen logos, Charles Wang, and Alexei Yashin.) No one is quite sure of its specific genesis, however. Some attribute it to two Swedish Islanders who were trying to emulate tennis star Björn Borgs custom of not shaving during Wimbledon. Some say that Islanders defenceman Ken Morrows beard led the charge. Whatever the story, the playoff beard has come to symbolize team unity, a badge of honour, and the fact that youve made a deep enough run to sport a thick brush from which you can hang livestock. In my years as a hockey fan, a few playoff beards standout. Scott Niedermayers greying old man beard, Mike Commodores ginger madness, and Lanny McDonalds wild west stache accompaniment immediately come to mind. In recent years, rules concerning the playoff beard seem to have turned lax. Shaving after a loss in effort to change a teams luck is seemingly allowed. Goatees, the beards answer to the haiku, are tolerated. Professional trimming is apparent (Im looking at you, Sedin twins.) Back in the day, when men were men and the Oilers made the playoffs, the rules for the playoff beard were simple: 1. Stop shaving.2. Win Stanley Cup or get eliminated.3. Start shaving again. In todays NHL, a new challenge faces beard-growing players. In the salary cap era, inexpensive young talent on entry-level contracts are important to the balance of a competitive team. Eighteen, nineteen, and twenty year-olds are key parts of many playoff teams lineups. Early in the first round, all players beards are equal. Its like a grade 8 dance. But come rounds two and three, how will Nathan MacKinnon, Olli Maatta, and Ryan Murray look should their teams be fortunate enough to make it that deep? Of course, a teams playoff longevity doesnt necessarily guarantee a healthy bearded player. When Tomas Kaberle won a Cup with Boston in 2011, the former Leafs defencemen still looked like a pre-pubescent child despite two months without shaving. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has won two Cups without any discernible upper lip growth, and Sidney Crosby still owns his "Sid the Kid" moniker with his patchy-coat-of an-electrocuted-dog fuzz. We cant all be Duck Dynasty-esque, but at 26 Crosbys beard is just plain sad. I have a better beard in my junior prom photos. Hell, my prom date has a better beard. And then theres the beards well never know. Can Dion Phaneuf even grow a beard? Can Phil Kessel? Can the Edmonton Oilers? We know they can schedule vacations for early April, play in the World Championships, and pick in the early first round of the draft, but theyll need to see past round one of the playoffs before we can judge their facial hair prowess. Sadly, methinks well never know. For now, I will rebel against notions peak beard, despite what Cosmo and The Daily Guardian are writing. The grand tradition of the playoff beard is just one of the many facets of the fight for the Stanley Cup that makes the NHLs postseason more compelling, more rich in narrative, and more entertaining than any other sport. So buy razor futures now, because the blades are sheathed for another two months, and may the best beard host the parade. Mike Flanagan Jersey . A fully booked flight forced me to leave two hours later. After a nice meal in which I studied the stats of the Argo win, I prepared to leave the restaurant. As I was gathering my things to leave many large individuals began to walk up and wait for tables. Steve Barber Jersey . Signs of a turnaround have emerged in this series at Minnesota. Brian Roberts had three doubles and a triple for the first four-extra-base-hit game of his 14-year career, and the Yankees used their bullpen to preserve a 6-5 win over the Twins on Friday. https://www.cheaporioles.com/1998i-scot ... ioles.html . Zimmermann became the National Leagues first 16-game winner, pitching seven solid innings to lead the Washington Nationals past the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Wednesday night. Gary Roenicke Jersey . The Detroit Tigers slugger fell short in his bid to become the first player to win the Triple Crown in successive seasons. Bob Nieman Jersey . Rockies manager Walt Weiss was unhappy, too. Weiss addressed the issue in a 15-minute meeting with his pitcher and catcher after the Rockies gave up 14 hits and lost 10-1. De La Rosa lasted only 4 1-3 innings and allowed five runs in his first opening-day start.Berea, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Browns released Billy Cundiff on Saturday after the veteran kicker injured his right knee in practice during the week. Former New Orleans Saint Garrett Hartley was signed to take the place of Cundiff, who sustained the injury on Thursday and had been listed as questionable for Sundays game against Cincinnati. Cundiff had been struggling anyway prior to Thursdays mishap, having missed 5-of-12 field goal attempts over the Browns last five games. That included a 40-yard try that was off the mark in last weeks 25-24 loss to Indianapolis. The 11-yeaar pros 75.dddddddddddd9 percent (22-of-29) success rate on field goals was the second-lowest mark in the league this season. Hartley last kicked in the NFL on Dec. 15 of last season. He was released by the Saints two days later after hitting a career-low 73.3 percent (22-of-30) of his field goal attempts in 2013. The 28-year-old spent six seasons with New Orleans, converting 82-of-101 field goal tries over that stretch. The highlight of Hartleys career came in Super Bowl XLIV, when he knocked through three field goals of 44 yards or more to help the Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts. ' ' '