Playoff beards were once as hallowed a hockey tradition as the gap-toothed grin. In a show of esprit de corps, players set aside their razors from the beginning of the first round until their clubs were eliminated. For the last few years, though, fans have been more likely to see the Lightning drink from the Stanley Cup than glimpse a shift of scruffy skaters.
Some players blame the influx of baby-faced Europeans for the decline of the bushy look, while others attribute it to younger rosters. For some guys, however, maintaining a beard isn't worth the effort—or the fashion cost—anymore. "It's not me," says Devils center Scott Gomez, who shaved his mug after his team won its first-round series. "If we were allowed to wear shorts, a T-shirt and sandals, I'd keep it. But wearing a suit every day, it just didn't go."
What's next in the world of playoff pilosity? Several clubs have been cultivating a new tradition, bleached-blond dye jobs, notably last season's Blues and the Senators this year. We're betting the peroxide look won't catch on: Both teams were bounced in the first round.