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Putting a new face on the playoffs

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Playoff beards are one of the great hallmarks of NHL tradition - let's face it, sudden breakouts of facial hair on a wide variety of baseball or basketball players in the postseason would look silly and contrived. Somehow in hockey it just works, reinforcing the image of the NHL playoffs as a long, brutal struggle that is as much about survival as it is about competition. But in these times, is it enough for Scott Niedermayer to sport his salt & pepper cookie duster, or Mike Commodore his fire-engine red coif?

Check out these "winners" from the 2007 World Beard & Mustache Championships, and I think you'll agree that there's room in the NHL tradition for a little inventiveness and personal expression. Say, a beard sculpted into the likeness of the Stanley Cup or a long mustache in the shape of dual hockey sticks.