This week sees the Nashville Predators start out on the longest road trip of the season. Over the course of the next 17 days, the Predators will play seven games, spanning all four time zones in the process.
Friday also marks the start of the month of November. Around the National Hockey League, many players take part in the Movember movement by growing moustaches to raise awareness and funding for men’s health, and more specifically, cancers that affect men.
While the cause is noble and extremely important, the players are able to have a little fun with the event as well. In true hockey player fashion, the moustaches that grow, and in some cases don’t grow, provide fodder for a good amount of locker room chatter.
Hockey players are typically humble guys, usually looking to deflect a lot of individual attention should it come their way.
But when asked who he thought would walk away with the best moustache at the end of November, Eric Nystrom was not afraid to call his shot.
“Myself, obviously,” he said. “I’ve got a real thick upper lip.”
New to the Predators this season after signing as a free agent last summer, Nystrom also took note of some of the fresh faces around the locker room.
“I think we are going to see some lip liner-like moustaches from some of these young guys,” Nystrom added. “I don’t even think they have hair on their upper lips yet. It drives me nuts.”
Proper push broom protocol states that men should start with a clean slate on Movember’s first day. As Shea Weber was discussing the moustache proceedings one day this week following practice, a nearly full bearded Kevin Klein walked by. The team captain thinks that his fellow blueliner has a chance at the crown.
“It depends if Kevin starts from scratch, but if he starts from there, you can’t count that, that’s cheating,” Weber said. “He was talking about leaving it, but we will see what he does.“
Asked for a teammate who could surprise, Weber looked no further than Seth Jones, one of two 19-year-olds on the roster.
“You know what, I think Jonesy may be a dark horse,” Weber said. “He talked about how creepy his moustache looks, so he may be able to grow something special.”
Semi-famous for his playoff beard-growing prowess, Weber can’t be counted out as a favorite either.
On the ice, Jones displays a game much more advanced than his age would indicate. But up close, he still has the face of a teenager.
Sporting the beginnings of a goatee, young Jones said that he might bend the rules a little and keep the current lip lettuce as a means of getting a head start on some of his older teammates.
“I’ve got to get it going here,” Jones said. “You see I am starting to get it going a little bit, but I can’t grow it very fast, so I will probably keep it.”
Regardless of who wins or loses in the battle of locker room chatter, raising awareness and money for men’s health causes makes them victorious in the best possible way.