Guy Lafleur calls Sharks’ beards ‘a disgrace for hockey’

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, we now witness one of the great traditions in hockey - the growing of the playoff beard. However, in the case of San Jose Sharks All-Star defenceman Brent Burns, facial hair is more than a tradition.

Guy Lafleur has a theory as to why the San Jose Sharks are struggling in the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Their beards are in the way.

The Montreal Canadiens legend and Hall of Famer shared his opinion about the bushy beards on veteran Joe Thornton and defenceman Brent Burns, and he didn’t mince words.

“I think it’s a disgrace for hockey. I hate it,” Lafleur told the Montreal Gazette. “It’s not a good image for the NHL.”

Growing playoff beards has been a much-loved tradition by most — though a certain executive spoke out against the ritual last year — but the evolution of Thornton and Chewbacca Burns’ facial hair began long before April, and has become part of the players’ identities.

“I don’t mind a guy wearing a beard, but to his belly … enough is enough,” said Lafleur. “The team’s managers should put their foot down.”

“They can’t see the puck,” Lafleur joked. “That’s why they’re struggling.”

In defence of the beards, and the players sporting them, both Thornton and Burns have had strong showings this post-season. While the entire Sharks team, down 3-1 in the series, has been struggling in the Final, both were instrumental in getting the Sharks to their first-ever Cup Final. Thornton has been a top playmaker with three goals and 17 assists in 22 playoff games, while Burns has six goals and 16 assists in as many games.

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