One Thing Wednesday: Hair For It

Welcome to Wednesday’s Mane Event.

After tackling some serious “One Thing” topics in previous weeks (John Hynes and David Poile) and amidst a stretch of the season riddled with injuries and trade rumors, it might be time for a shallow dive on One Thing Wednesday. This week I’m taking a lighter look at one thing about the Nashville Predators—their hair.

The truth is, as much as power play stats, roster spots, and slow starts have been a narrative of the season, there has also been plenty of talk and analysis regarding facial hair on this team. I don’t recall a Predators season quite so steeped in coiffure conversation. This Wednesday we will take a look at hair in three categories: hairstyles, beards, and mustaches.

Samsonian Skill?

In a sport where helmets are required (except during warm-ups, which makes zero sense to me), it is challenging to analyze hairstyles winners on game days. There are, however, two players who I think hold the top spots—Roman Josi and Erik Haula.

It is with zero impropriety and even less surprise that I point out the obvious: Roman Josi is a handsome human. As someone who looks haggard after a 10-minute stretching video, I am amazed at Josi’s ability to look ruggedly handsome after 65 minutes of hockey and an injury. There is really no situation where Josi’s hair doesn’t look perfectly coiffed.

Despite a messier mane, Erik Haula still makes a strong statement with an aerodynamic flow that only looks better with the helmet. While Josi keeps a clean crop, Haula’s free flowing hair is a delightful balance of surfer meets English lit major. It’s a great look for both fashion and function.

Runner up? John Hynes. Four years ago, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that bald men are perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their pileous peers. And while trends change quickly, perceptions may take a little longer to catch up, so let’s give a shot out to Coach Hynes for boldly rocking the bald.

Battle of the Beards

When you think “beard” and “Nashville Predators” you automatically think “Ryan Ellis”. It’s a fact, Ryan Ellis rocks perhaps one of the best beards in the NHL. So to make this a competition, let’s have a face off between a few beards of the forwards and the beards of some select defenders.

Defenders: Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Ben Harpur

While Ellis carries the category, don’t underestimate the Big Swedish Redwood and the tall, dark beard of Ben.

Forwards: Viktor Arvidsson, Yakov Trenin, Matthieu Oliver

A strong showing in this trio. While none have the length of Ellis or Ekholm, all three sport the beard in a way that is both outdoorsy and upscale.

There can only be one winner (but really—aren’t we all winners?). The fact is, Ellis carries the category, so the beard gold medal goes to the defenders.

The Magic of the Mustache

Just as Ellis owns the beard category, it is no secret who has the mustache magic on the Predators bench. And don’t come at Filip Forsberg about the ’stache.

While I came of age in the time of the Tom Selleck/Magnum P.I. mustache, the reemergence of the lip sweater in recent times has still taken some getting used to. Despite the hesitation, even I have developed mad respect for the amazing mustache Forsberg sports.

Where things get a little hairy for me is with the young guys working so hard to match Forsberg’s mustache magnetism. It evokes a maternal “bless their hearts” to see the youth movement investing time and wishes on their facial hair. Eeli Tolvanen and Juuse Saros had a “grow off” going this season, neither with Forsberg-like success…yet. But what may not look as impressive as a horseshoe or fu manchu is no less powerful according to Saros.

Whether I like the look or not, there is no denying that both Saros and Tolvanen have had a sort of hockey metamorphosis after growing the lip caterpillar. But unequivocally, Filip Forsberg has the greatest mustache of the team.

Do hairstyles truly translate into perceived strength? Do beards intimidate the opponent? Is there really magic in the mustache? In a season of ups and downs, there is nothing wrong with leaning a bit on hair horoscopy.