I have been workshopping a theory for a while now. This is a theory as old as time. The theory is that hockey players perform better when they have better hair. I don’t know what the correlation would be on this one but something that has stuck out to me for some time now is the picture of Patrick Kane with a mullet and racing stripes. This picture was taken on road to winning a Stanley Cup.
In this picture you can see the luscious lettuce that would sprout out from beneath the rim of his Bauer Bucket. As a defenseman I can only imagine not only how distracting this hairstyle can be but also how intimidating. These my friends are locks of hair maintained and groomed with a purpose. That purpose is to strike fear into the mind of your opponent. The racing stripes are not only aesthetically pleasing they add a some aerodynamic principals that only Bernoulli himself could explain. I imagine they work like the stitching on a baseball enabling Mr.Kane do dipsy-doodle and dangle opponents without them being able to recognize what pitch is being thrown at them.
I mean look at that stuff.
According to Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post Patrick Kane’s Hair style was modeled after an old picture of Jaromir Jagr. I imagine the photo looked something like this.
A person can not help but notice a 149 point season in the record books for Jaromir when he was rocking this look. Everyone knew when this head of lettuce was ripping around the ice in the berg.
A victim to this theory would have to be Artemi Panarin. Over the last 2 years on the Blackhawks Artemi was producing like a machine. He had 152 points in 161 games. He also had a shooting percentage of 15.3%. For the NHL that is very good. This is what Artemi looked like before he left Chicago. Hair with plenty of potential seeping out.
When he arrived in Columbus he looked like this.
The issue is that, he now he looks like a neutered puppy dog. No pizazz. Nothing to draw a defenders gaze away from his chest. He can no longer make a defender bite on a head fake with his serious lack of hair. Is it starting to make sense? Artemi’s Points-per-game total has fallen since the hair cut( .944 to .826). His shooting percentage has dropped by 6% (to 9.2). This is the difference we are talking about. The difference between a good and a great player. Its literally just a couple of inches.
The theory poses another question. Do we only notice hair when good players have it? I think yes, but that would prove there is a bias that exists. We would have to have more empirical data but I do not have the time nor resources to gather that level of information.
Some people have given some recognition to the Minnesota High School Hockey League for their all-hair team, and I think they get it. One notable player that came out of that league is Casey Mittlestadt, fresh out of Eden Prairie, Minny. Casey put on a show in the WJC earlier this month and he has really made a name for himself. Watch below.
The dude ripped off the Slovakian defenders jock and served it to him on a silver platter. Mittlestadt was drafted 8th overall in the 2017 NHL entry draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Lo and behold he pulls off this move in front of his future fans. A shimmer of hope for a city who’s beloved Bills recently lost to the Jaguars in the playoffs.
A little bit of advice for this kid if you want Buffalo to be great again you are going to have to grow some hair man. I mean take it from former second overall pick Jack Eichel, fellow Sabre, also born in the U-S of A. Jack has been having a rough time up in Buffalo and the team has yet to turn itself around.
Guess what, the dude looks like he got a perm yesterday. Perms weren’t in when they were in man. Jack is a good hockey player but he has not proven to be great yet and I think its a simple fix. Grow out a fro. Its an easy solution and it still blows my mind that other people are not noticing the trend. Some tend to over compensate for the lack of hair with a beard. We have to start reversing this trend. Less beard, its been beaten to death. Grow out the hair. Now Casey has been flirting with it and I think we all see some serious potential here. From what I understand the level of hair is just not going to cut it in the Show. It works on Slovakian Defenders but this is the big time.
You can see he has some understanding of what he can do with it. I’m calling for a slick-back but he is young and creative. I imagine he will figure something. I can only sit back and hope he takes my advice. Good luck Buffalo.
Hair has been important for a long time now. Some would call it peacocking, those people would be ignorant. There has to be some affect it has on the player, maybe a boost in confidence just because you know you look good. The mantra look good, feel good, play good exists for a reason. Other noticeable greats in todays game would have to be Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators who has won two Norris trophies for best defenseman (2012,2015).
Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning who is constantly in discussion for the Norris
Jamie Benn with his Jet-black slick-back, Paddy-wack.
This is merely a few of cases of Phenomenal hair cases that currently exist across the NHL.
Really makes you think, huh.