The playoff beard dilemma

And so, as the chill of winter descends on my city, I find myself facing the kind of heinous dilemma that would have been unimaginable late last year, before this hockey mania overtook my soul.

Tomorrow I have a major commercial pitch. It would be a great gig to win. And then I plan to perform on stage at the Rocket Clock storytelling slam (Melbourne Trades Hall, Bella Union bar, 8.30 pm – be there. Tickets at the door. This was my first attempt).

The beard today ... almost as hairy as Fly Dog.

Yet I have an increasingly out of control play-off beard, which threatens both events. Do I really want to go on stage, looking like this? Will our potential client call security if I show up for our meeting with this wild facial hair?

Curse my rampant testosterone! (note to self: check if testosterone even related to beard growth?)

Despite this dilemma, I’m actually not complaining in the slightest because it is a minor miracle that I’m still not shaving.

This entire issue would have been solved had the Detroit Red Wings done what everybody expected and folded in San Jose yesterday. Down 3-0 in their best of seven second-round series (Western Conference semi-finals) of the Stanley Cup playoffs last week, after being on the wrong side of three heart-breaking one-goal results in a row, the Wings appeared doomed. But somehow won, 4-3, at the Joe Louis Arena, with a Darren Helm goal near the shadows of full time, to force Game 5.

And so the still-confident Sharks were forced to compete again yesterday, Melbourne-time, in their Shark Tank, urged on by a frenzied home crowd, against a Wings team with nothing to lose but some nagging injuries to key players like “Mule” Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk. Sure enough, San Jose took a 3-1 lead early in the third term and that appeared to be that … season over for the Wings; a disappointing second round exit to the Sharks for the second year in a row.

Well, it should have been. Except that somebody forgot to mention that storyline to the Wings, who scored, and then scored again to level things up. And then Hall of Fame defender and captain Nick Lidstrom drove a bullet through heavy traffic, which Tomas Holmstrom tapped in for the winner.

Victory in Game 5! (Detroit Free Press)

Detroit Free Press writer Michael Rosenberg’s immediate reaction was: “You might want to be careful as you read this column, because it comes with a disclaimer: I have no earthly idea what I just saw. I have no clue how the Red Wings beat the Sharks to keep their season alive. I just know they did.”

And so the teams head back to Detroit for an unexpected Game 6, which is cool for so many reasons, including the fact we get to see them stepping off their own frickin’ plane (Take that, AFL teams) and that Wings fans everywhere (like Will and I) are barely daring to hope …

You see, only three sides ever have managed to come back from 0-3  down in playoff competition; the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers.

Can the Red Wings pull off a miracle? Or will it all come crashing to a halt, with one decent Sharks performance? Every game remains sudden death for Detroit.

And, more to the point, does the result hinge completely on my playoff beard, as superstition suggests? The players themselves have some good playoff beards happening – Zetterberg, as always, leading the way – but mine is getting unkempt and there is this big presentation tomorrow, at exactly the time the Wings will be on the ice, in sudden death action.

The Red Wings disembark from their private jet, as you do. (Pic: Detroit Free Press)

Does trimming a beard affect its power to help the team? Would a goatee look worse? Could I ever forgive myself if I shave and they lose? Would my business partner ever speak to me again if we lose our pitch because of my unsightly facial hair? Will I be laughed off the stage at Rocket Clock if I look like Saddam Hussein when he was dragged out of his hole in the ground?

FML. What a dilemma.

Go Wings.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Beard stayed. Meeting went pretty well.

In a huge performance, the Red Wings won Game 6, 3-1 (Oh, you should have heard the crowd at the Joe belt out : “Born and raised in South Detroit!” in Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ – their equivalent of Richmond’s “YELLOW AND BLACK!”)

The series heads back to San Jose for the sudden-death Game 7 decider.

Rocket Clock? Who cares if I get laughed off stage … The beard is going NOWHERE now until this is over!

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