Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

The playoff beard

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Sports traditions can range from the fun (the seventh-inning stretch, or maybe the Lambeau Leap), to the odd (why do Indy500 race winners chug milk after the race?) to the gross (soccer players swapping sweaty jerseys after games). One of sports' greatest traditions, the hockey playoff beard, is all of those things. Depending on who you ask, playoff beards might be the most fun, most strange and most disgusting rituals in all of sports.

The tradition began in the early 80's with the New York Islanders. That team built solidarity by instituting a rule that no player would shave until their team was eliminated from the playoffs. Led by defenseman Ken Morrow, otherwise known as the "Wolfman", the team won 4 consecutive Stanley Cups between 1980 and 1983. Since then the tradition has exploded, and while few players get a chance to drink from the cup, many get to show of their face-fros.

Right now, with the days growing warmer and people rushing to get their summer trims and their first tans, the LA Kings are still donning their playoff beards as they try to win the city's first Stanley Cup in 45 years. Scroll through some of the photos above to see how their beards hold up against some of history's best.

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