YardBarker- In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, the 64-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer said that he’s not a fan of long beards like the ones worn by San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns or Joe Thornton.
“I think it’s a disgrace for hockey. I hate it. It’s not a good image for the NHL,” said Lafleur. “I don’t mind a guy wearing a beard, but to his belly … enough is enough. The team’s managers should put their foot down.
“They can’t see the puck,” Lafleur added with a laugh. “That’s why they’re struggling.”
Look, I know that reasoning sounds absolutely preposterous, but who am I to argue with a legend? If he says that long, scraggly manes get in the way of a player's ability to locate the puck then I have no choice but to believe him. Not because it makes any sense whatsoever, but because former player's never nitpick an aspect of the sport that is different from when they played and use it to justify why things were better back in their day.
So since this is obviously a true statement, I think my only question is why are we chastising these players for falling behind in the Stanley Cup Finals instead of praising them for getting there in the first place? Given the fact that he's talking about guys with beards down to their belly that are struggling I have would have to assume he is referencing Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, and they've had obnoxiously long beards all season. Far be it for me to criticize a 36 year old forward that has nearly managed a point per game throughout the regular season and playoffs, and a two way defenseman that had one of the most impressive statistical seasons in recent memory when they managed to do so while having their on-ice vision jeopardized by their bird's nests. Poor bastards have dragged the Sharks within three wins of a championship while blindly fishing for the puck the entire time. Joe Thornton has been throwing tape to tape sauce and Brent Burns has been blasting heat seeking missiles using nothing more than their instincts and intuition. I think it's time we embrace what they have been able to accomplish instead of focusing on what they haven't when their potential has been restricted by their refusal to shave since September.
This is really just the hockey equivalent of Oscar Robertson hating Steph Curry because he has a 3 point line to work with. Just a former player finding a reason to bitch about something/anything that has changed since they played. Hey Guy, don't you worry your sweet little ass about the image of the NHL because it's the best it's ever been - and no amount of unkempt facial hair is going to change that.