The right scruff: Who has the best Stanley Cup finals beard?

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Thornton on his beard: 'It looks pretty, but it's hard work' (0:59)

Joe Thornton says it's hard work keeping up with a beard as pretty as his and teammate Brent Burns has been helping him with the upkeep. (0:59)

The hockey playoff beard is one of the greatest postseason traditions in all of sports. Ever since the New York Islanders established facial fuzz as a lucky postseason charm in the early 1980s, players have set aside their razors each spring and beards have become a Samsonian symbol of Stanley Cup playoff success. So do the Pittsburgh Penguins or San Jose Sharks have the right scruff? Herewith, a gallery of the finalists' finest facial foliage.


Joe Thornton

Jumbo Joe's majestic flow appears to have morphed into an actual living mammal this postseason. His cat seems to think so, anyway. But don't let the "Castaway" look fool you. Thornton said that maintaining a beard this epic requires manscaping. "In the morning, you get up, you have to oil it a little bit, comb a little bit and at night, you have to take care of it," he told reporters at media day. "Oil it and comb it. It looks pretty, but it's hard work. You have to look after it."


Phil Kessel

The former Bruin and Maple Leaf bristles at attention, whether it's for his bushy beard or his stellar play -- but since arriving in Pittsburgh via an offseason trade, the talented but misunderstood forward has morphed into a furry folk hero in the Steel City. And at least his beard is better than his breath.


Brent Burns

Burnsy has been bringing his beard game for years now, and this season he took his hirsute pursuit to a new level, invoking Chewbacca at the All-Star Game and earning bonus points for offsetting his unruly facial growth with a tidy man bun up top. The Sharks even immortalized his beard in Chia Pet form.


Nick Bonino

Known as more of a "scruff" guy before he came to Pittsburgh, Bonino has put down his razor and raised his game this postseason with the Penguins, sporting a solid Abe Lincoln-esque chin curtain and scoring several clutch goals.


Roman Polak

Teammates once poked fun at Polak's patchy "beard," but the burly blueliner got the last laugh against the team that traded him in 2014 when San Jose survived a close shave by St. Louis in the conference finals. The Sharks acquired Polak and his now-fabulous flavor saver on Feb. 22 and have groomed him for success ever since.


Bryan Rust

He's sporting some pretty sweet facial hair for a rookie. The 24-year-old forward has piled up points while skating on Evgeni Malkin's wing -- including two goals in Game 1 -- all while bearing a beard that befits his new hero status.