NHL’s playoff beard tradition has grown over time

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How did the NHL playoff beard tradition start? Don’t ask the Bruins.

“Oh boy,” laughed Jay Pandolfo, a 15-year-veteran, pausing while stroking his thick, brown facial hair. “I really don’t know.”

Surmised defenseman Johnny Boychuk: “It was probably just some lazy guy who didn’t want to shave.”

It’s hard to blame these Bruins for not knowing exactly. One of hockey’s most celebrated — and itchy — traditions has unceremonious roots.

“It began in about 1980 with the beginning of the New York Islanders dynasty,” said Stan Fischler, a longtime hockey historian, author and broadcaster.

Today, playoff beards have become pop culture phenomenons.

Since the playoffs began on April 30, nearly every participant of this Stanley Cup Final has grown out facial hair.

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