2015 Stanley Cup Final: Close Shave For NHL

2015 Stanley Cup Final: Close Shave For NHL The Stanley Cup Final has been an exciting and closely-played one between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, and it...

2015 Stanley Cup Final: Close Shave For NHL

The Stanley Cup Final has been an exciting and closely-played one between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, and it is tied at two games apiece after Chicago’s 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.

That, and great TV ratings, still are not enough for Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports. He wants to mess with tradition. He wants the players to stop growing beards at playoff time. The playoffs without beards? That would be like the playoffs without beers.

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Lazarus told the Chicago Tribune he wanted to see the players’ cheeks and chins, not hair.

“Let’s get their faces out there,” he told the Tribune. “Let’s talk about how young and attractive they are.”

Ah, go produce a Kardashian show. And the players said as much, too. USA Today canvassed the locker rooms and couldn’t find a player willing to take up a razor in Lazarus’ defense.

“It’s part of our tradition,” Chicago Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling told the newspaper. “… It shouldn’t be up to anyone but the players to decide if they have a beard or not.”

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The scraggly look gives players a little more common purpose and camaraderie at a time when media attention is most invasive. And while some see the business reason behind Lazarus’ statement, they’re not about to abandon long-standing custom.

“I don’t think guys will be willing to change any time soon,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.

Hear, hear. Hair, hair.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .

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