Showing their chops

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Calgary Flames have moved on from the moustache.

This year, chops are in vogue.

Many of the Flames are sporting massive sideburns as the club embarks on yet another facial-hair contest for the month of January.

"It's a team thing. We just started on January first," confirmed Stephane Yelle. "Guys are starting to grow them, which is interesting."

Indeed, it's good for a laugh when you look around the room and see great sets on Robyn Regehr and Mark Giordano, who appear to have the upper hand when it comes to rapid growth.

Others like Kristian Huselius, Miikka Kiprusoff, Jeff Friesen, Byron Ritchie and Marcus Nilson have the beginnings of some decent 'burns.

Then there are the guys who could take a year and still not make a solid set of sideburns appear.

Among those in that category are Dion Phaneuf, 21, and Andrew Ference, 27.

"I'm just a little further (up) the line of evolution," joked Ference as he exited the dressing room right behind Regehr -- who is clearly the early favourite with two perfectly groomed chops that run right down to the chin.

"Wolverine was a favourite character of mine," said Regehr of the Xmen character. "I'm trying to look like him, I guess."

For those who can't compete, Regehr said the team left it open for them to contribute in other ways -- maybe by letting their locks flow freely or getting a wild cut.

But he couldn't resist a shot at Phaneuf, whose face still looks as bare as the day he was born.

"Dion, I'd just maybe put permanent marker on my face, it'd be easier," cracked Regehr.

There is no prize in this team-building exercise and, ultimately, Yelle sees them all as losers in a certain light.

"It's great when we're all (together) as a team," he said. "But then you end up going home by yourself or going grocery shopping and you've got these bad chops."


Photos