GRAND RAPIDS - It's not any surprise that professional athletes can be superstitious and one of the strongest superstitions come playoff time is the mighty playoff beard.
The tradition is assumed to have started with Mike Bossy and the 1980s New York Islanders. The team vows to not shave for however long your playoff run lasts.
"Ever since I watched hockey growing up guys always had beards," says Griffins right wing Mitch Callahan, "It's the way it was when I watched it so to this day the tradition lives on."
Call it superstition, call it tradition, the Griffins are beginning their playoff run, picking up the intensity and putting down the razors.
"The last game after Milwaukee I shaved so I started then," says defenseman Robbie Russo.
Things get pretty bushy in NHL locker rooms but as the Griffins have a much younger roster, personal growth may come a bit slow this spring.
"Some of these guys it's already too late," says left wing Eric Tangradi, "I think a few of them with the peach fuzz, they needed to start around the holidays, Christmas time, to have anything worthwhile coming in."
"I can't really grow much of one but when I do it's mostly on my neck so you're not going to see much of it," says center Kyle Criscuolo.
Criscuolo isn't alone. He has plenty of baby faced teammates to bond with.
"Dan Renouf, he hasn't gone through puberty yet so probably him and (Tyler) Bertuzzi," says Russo.
"Yeah, there's some baby faces on our team," says Callahan, "so it's going to be fun to see how it turns out."
While the results may vary, the bond being grown will always outpace the facial hair.
"I think it's just a badge of honor to show how far you've gone," says Criscuolo, "When you get to the finals and everybody's got beards, you know you've been grinding."
The Griffins' playoff push begins Friday night at Van Andel Arena at 7 PM versus the Milwaukee Admirals.
Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon at 4 PM before the series turns to Milwaukee next week.
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