A lot of locks have grown and gone in the NHL during my time as a fan. I still remember the days of my youth – when beaver tails poked out from under players’ helmets. I remember watching a player like Jaromir Jagr in the early 90s gain speed on the ice, adding lift to his mullet, making it appear that he was reaching speeds of up to 100MPH.
Jagr wasn’t in a league of his own. Hall of Famers such as Doug Gilmour, Mario Lemieux, and even the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, rocked flows for the ages. But then something happened – players began to improve upon their grooming. Thankfully, though, a resurgence has begun and more players are starting to throw caution to the wind – letting their drapes dangle all over the ice.
Here is the Hockey Dekely’s top-five flows of the 2011-12 NHL season:
When a fan can be watching a game on television and still notice a player’s long, greasy locks from under a full-face mask, you know you’ve got something beautiful on your hands (on year head?). Ryan Miller risks poor vision every game in order to rock such a sweet flow. For that, we salute him.
Ryan Smyth is at the age of being considered an NHL veteran. What better way to embrace this title than to grow a throwback (flowback?) mullet reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky himself – also a former Edmonton Oiler. Ryan’s retro rug bobs and weaves on his head as he bobs and weaves down the ice. For sticking with a classic, Ryan Smyth lands in fourth place.
As the youngest player on this list, fans can only wait with anticipation to see where Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson’s hair ends up by the end of the season. His spectacular play this season can mean only one thing: Karlsson spends 100 per cent of his time practicing on the ice and zero per cent of his time in the barber’s chair. For growing his Tennessee top hat from head to shoulders, and introducing a new generation to the lore of hockey hair, we salute Erik Karlsson as number three.
Is there a connection between hockey skill and hockey hair? If you’ve been watching Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos this season, you may start to think so. Stamkos has already had his Kentucky waterfall (and, yes, his skill) compared to Wayne Gretzky. He also won the coveted Mullet of the Week award from NHL.com’s Barry Melrose. So we ask again: is there a connection? Maybe we should ask Scott Gomez.
What is on this man’s head? The mop-top has become synonymous with Philadelphia Flyer Scott Hartnell. We associate him with his hair so much that when he cut it off in 2010 for ‘Locks for Love’, an organization that supplies hair pieces for disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under the age 21 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss, we still felt robbed of something great. Luckily, hair grows back – and Hartnell’s did with a vengeance. For his gnarly growth, Hartnell lands at number one this year, and every year after this.
Honourable mentions: Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers), Mike Commodore (Tampa Bay Lightning), Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins), Steve Downie (Colorado Avalanche)