At the beginning of the NHL regular season, Patrik Laine entered into a gentleman's wager with his cousin over who could grow the better beard. I'm not quite sure who won that contest, but I do know who lost: All of us.
That's because we had to look at this abomination all season long.
Laine's tribute to Mose Schrute was always terrible, but it got even more out of hand during the Winnipeg Jets' playoff run. It's customary among NHL players to not shave during the playoffs, and the 19-year-old Laine just let that tumbleweed have free reign on his face.
But with the Jets being eliminated in the Western Conference Final at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights last week, Laine has finally (and mercifully) agreed to get rid of the beard. Our long international nightmare will finally come to an end this Friday.
Laine has been through a lot with the beard, so this could be a tough personal decision for him. Earlier in the season, he suffered a nasty gash on his chin after taking a high stick to the face and required some immediate medical attention. He wasn't so much concerned about the open wound in his face as he was about the wellbeing of the disgusting, wispy mass of hair attached to it.
His first thought when he went to the medical room was: Save the beard.
"I let them know right away that I'm gonna keep it and don't touch it," Laine said Tuesday as the Jets prepared to face off against the Boston Bruins at Bell MTS Place.
Although the beard was a terrible look, it's hard to say that it made Laine a worse hockey player. The Finnish sniper had 44 goals (second in the league behind only Alex Ovechkin) and 70 points in just his second full season. The kid is an elite offensive force already, and he'll be scoring goals for a long time to come. Hopefully his beard skills will catch up eventually.
For now, maybe it's just better for everyone that he returns to looking like one of Hans Gruber's henchmen.