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Who had the most epic playoff beard of all time? Nominations open this week

Calgary Flames' Lanny McDonald raises the Stanley Cup in Montreal Thursday, May 25, 1989 after Flames defeated Canadians. May used to be the month when NHL playoff hockey grabbed the attention of Canadians. The lockout ruined that experience this year, but vivid memories remain from Stanley Cup play in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. (CP PICTURE ARCHIVE - Bill Grimshaw)

BILL GRIMSHAW

Vancouver Canucks players and their fans are going clean shaven this week after the team's elimination from the NHL playoffs, while in Ottawa they're hoping to keep their razors tucked away for a while longer.

The tradition of the playoff beard isn't just a Canadian phenomenon. Every playoff season fans delight in the sideshow of impressive facial hair at ice level, and the die-hards usually join in the fun.

For years it's been the norm to see the captain of the new Stanley Cup champion lift the trophy in June with a beard grown since mid-April. The New York Islanders' dynasty of the early 1980s was the first team to stop shaving until its Cup quest came to an end, with some suggesting the players were inspired by tennis star Bjorn Borg, who similarly got scruffy during each of his Wimbledon championships in the late '70s.

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Not every player on every team participates, but the number of memorable cookie dusters got us wondering: Who is the all-time King of Beards?

For the next three and a half weeks, we'll call on our readers to help elect the worthy bristle-bearer.

Is it Ken Morrow or Clark Gillies, who helped start it all with the Islanders?

Should grizzled-and-grey Scott Niedermayer add a new title to his multiple Stanley Cup rings?

Or do Lanny McDonald's beard and famous moustache combine to make him an unstoppable force?

We want your nominations this week (and we welcome photographic evidence too), and then next week we'll begin with the voting.

May the best beard win!

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UPDATE: The tournament has begun.



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