Whiskers aplenty

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET


 New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello does not allow facial hair on his players, so last year the playoff beard lost some of its profile.

 But it's back this year with many players on both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames sporting various forms of growth heading into the Stanley Cup final.

 The concept has even spread to the bar staff at Newk's, a popular watering hole adjacent to the St. Pete Times Forum.

 A sign asks patrons to excuse the appearance of the waiters but explains that it's done to show support for the Lightning's Stanley Cup run.

 Even Lightning coach John Tortorella has a beard.

 Flames coach Darryl Sutter just laughed when asked why he hadn't grown one.

 "Some of these guys have some pretty bad beards," he said. "Iggy (Jarome Iginla) shaved his head but grew a beard."

 Martin Gelinas, a veteran of the Stanley Cup wars, admits to being a little more superstitious about it this time around.

 "Usually, I trim my beard and I don't even want to touch it," he said. "My dad is a barber and he came to town in Calgary last week.

 "On the first day, he said, 'We should cut your hair.'

 "I said, 'Let's not touch it for a couple of weeks.' "

 But teammate Craig Conroy, a former St. Louis Blue, is clean-shaven.

 "When I was in St. Louis, I was dying my hair blond; I had a beard, a goatee, a Fu Manchu, and I never won the Cup.

 "So I said I was just going to keep going as normal, just shave and go about my business and let these other guys do it.

 And there's another reason.

 "It's itchy," Conroy said.


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