June 09, 2015

NBC Sports to NHL: Hey Good Lookin', Shave Those Playoff Beards: We interrupt the regularly scheduled recap of Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory over Chicago in game 3 of the Stanley Cup to bring you this special announcement: NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus has asked the NHL and its players to shave during the playoffs. "The players won't like this, but I wish they all would stop growing beards in the postseason,” Lazarus said. “Let's get their faces out there. Let's talk about how young and attractive they are. ... I know it's a tradition and superstition, but I think (the beards do) hurt recognition. They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition with fans saying, 'That guy looks like the kid next door,' which many of these guys do."

posted by rcade to hockey at 05:16 PM - 17 comments

NHL Pick 'Em update:

Longest game: 0 OTs (0 winners)

TV rating: 3.6 after game 2 (closest 3.2, jagsnumberone; 2.7, bender; 2.5, holden)

First scorer: Alex Killorn (0 winners)

Most goals: 2, Teuvo Teravainen, Cedric Paquette (0 winners)

Most assists: 4, Victor Hedman (0 winners)

Most points: 4, Hedman, Ryan Callahan (0 winners)

Best plus/minus: 3, Ondrej Palat (0 winners)

Most penalty minutes: 6, Braydon Coburn (1 winner)

Starting goaltender with the best GAA: 2.48, Ben Bishop (7 winners)

posted by rcade at 05:25 PM on June 09

Do you ever read anything by a sports network executive that suggests they actually like (or watch) sports? I think "appeal to the casual fan" is a myth like the Silent Majority. Just accentuate why the sport is popular with its fans and casual fans can decide for themselves. Everyone starts out as a casual fan, dumbasses.

posted by yerfatma at 06:21 PM on June 09

I like the playoff beards, but I can see why a top network executive would believe there's something about an Aqua Velva man. Sports where viewers see faces can make bank on the athletes' sex appeal. (I believe baseball offsets this with the spitting, unflattering pants and constant genital realignment.)

When Lazarus said, "What model citizens they are. (Hockey players) truly are one of a kind among professional athletes," I felt like he was treading into dangerous territory. Our players are white! They come from better homes because the equipment is so damn expensive! No one ever calls them urban!

posted by rcade at 08:16 PM on June 09

As someone that has been fully bearded since 2001 and is nearly universally accepted as drop-dead sexy, I politely invite Mr. Lazarus to suck on a moldy tangerine.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:43 PM on June 09

Talking about beards, did something happen about 3 or 4 years ago that suddenly triggered all of the athletes to start trying to grow beards during the regular season?

MLB is FILLED with furry-faced guys now, when it used to be very rare.

And it's not just Jose-Bautista-esque shadow beards, but massive Grizzy-Adams-esque super-beards, like Evan Gattis or Dallas Keuchel or Mike Napoli.

Is this a result of NHL playoff beards getting more attention in the last few years, and high profile NBA beards like James Harden?

posted by grum@work at 09:50 PM on June 09

Young and attractive? Get their faces out there? How long will it be until the first closeup of a clean-shaven, generously scarred face that smiles broadly -- revealing some serious dental deficiencies? You want clean-shaven? Switch to something a bit more genteel. Swimming might be an alternative. The beards tend to slow down a swimmer.

posted by Howard_T at 09:52 PM on June 09

You rarely see a football player's face during the game. That may explain why the NFL is having such a problem with popularity...

/sarcasm

posted by MeatSaber at 10:32 PM on June 09

We saw football players' faces more in the old days when facemasks were smaller and there were no visors. There also were no rules about removing helmets while on the field.

So the face theory works for that sport too. An old football helmet shows almost as much of the player's face as today's hockey headgear.

Football is such a juggernaut now the facelessness of players isn't going to make much of a dent. But if you're the No. 4 sport and soccer could make you No. 5, it makes sense to look for any advantage where you can find it.

posted by rcade at 10:55 PM on June 09

I don't get to watch much hockey during the regular season, so I really only see the guys in their bearded state. It would be strange to me to see them clean shaven.

It's not that they look bad with the beards - I think they look great. It's that by June, most of them look like President Grant and President Hayes.

posted by beaverboard at 11:36 PM on June 09

It's that by June, most of them look like President Grant and President Hayes.

Or Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell & Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie.

posted by tommytrump at 12:06 AM on June 10

But if you're the No. 4 sport and soccer could make you No. 5, it makes sense to look for any advantage where you can find it.

Perhaps they could wear tighter shorts.

posted by yerfatma at 07:55 AM on June 10

Talking about beards, did something happen about 3 or 4 years ago that suddenly triggered all of the athletes to start trying to grow beards during the regular season?

MLB is FILLED with furry-faced guys now, when it used to be very rare.

It's a product of broader society. I've had a beard since I was 19 (when it was relatively rare, noticeable, and dare I say irresistible to the ladies...okay, maybe that's a LITTLE far), and now at 32 have noticed professionals in every industry I interact with now have them. I've been told that most people did it in the last few years.

The man bun is now replacing the beard (which had replaced placed funky colored socks under dress clothing) as the minor day-to-day rebellion for average joes.

posted by dfleming at 08:52 AM on June 10

Another part of this is that high school and college age guys in NHL cities start their own beards if/when their team makes the playoffs, which is a fun added dimension.

I also enjoy the contrast of watching a rink full of scruffians zoom about while listening to Doc Emrick's clarion, neatly groomed voice describe the action.

posted by beaverboard at 09:41 AM on June 10

Man bun?

[Google]

Oh. Well, if he's doing it, then it MUST be cool.

posted by grum@work at 09:47 AM on June 10

Man bun?

Come out to Santa Barbara for more striking examples of this phenomenon than you might like. And, by all means, bring a set of clippers says the bald guy who may or may not be a little jealous.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:17 AM on June 10

Grum is, if I recall correctly, in Toronto. A few months ago when I was in the Annex, men with buns and ponytails outnumbered women with buns and ponytails by about 3:1.

In general, I think these comments are on their face ridiculous. Put a guy in a hockey helmet and it doesn't matter if he has a black eye, beard, Lanny stache, or whatever else. People are going to know he's a hockey player.

If anything, beards, cuts, black eyes and broken noses align better to the warrior narrative which has been arguably the most unifying thing about sports heroism since the Greeks. People want to watch Tom Brady the battle-tested game hero, not Tom Brady in makeup and Ugg boots.

posted by dfleming at 11:36 AM on June 10

Grum is, if I recall correctly, in Toronto. A few months ago when I was in the Annex, men with buns and ponytails outnumbered women with buns and ponytails by about 3:1.

Born and raised in Toronto for 20 years, but I've lived in London (2 hours west) for the past 20 years. The last time I was in Toronto it was a bit chilly, so everyone had on hoodies so I couldn't see the hairstyles (on Queen Street West).

As someone who has been rocking a terrible Van Dyke for the last 15 years, I'm happy to see beards become more acceptable. Of course, I'm just one "I don't want to hug Daddy, his beard itches!" statement from my 2-year-old daughter away from shaving it all off.

When I used to have glorious locks of thick silky hair on this head (in my 20s/early 30s), I still wouldn't have ever gotten a man bun if they were ever popular at the time.

posted by grum@work at 01:32 PM on June 10

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