Although long expected, the demotion of Crosby’s mustache, Patchie, is another radical turn of events for the star center in a year filled with thrilling and troubling turnabouts. Sidelined by a concussion for sixty-one games over a span of two seasons, Crosby and Patchie made a dramatic return to the ice against the New York Islanders on November 21, 2011, tallying two goals and two assists in a 5-0 victory.
Crosby proceeded to register eight assists in the next seven games, and appeared to be picking up right where he left off before his injury. But his concussion-like symptoms1 returned after playing the Boston Bruins on December 5, 2011, and has not skated in a game since.
Even before Crosby’s latest absence, concern had arisen than his facial hair was not pulling its weight at the NHL level. His defenders point out that while Crosby is twenty-four years old and—concussion symptoms aside—arguably at the top of his game, his mustache is perhaps as young as two and a half, and has many years left to blossom. The team decided, however, that with the prospect of facing first-class playoff beards only a few months away, Patchie leStache was better off moving down to the AHL.
“We definitely don’t see this demotion as a punishment,” says Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. “This is an opportunity for Patchie to grow, thicken up, and expand his game at his own rate, in a less intense and stressful environment.”
“Sid’s one of the best players in the game,” says Ray Shero, Pittsburgh’s general manager. “He’s got great strength, hands, and vision, and he has a drive to succeed like I’ve never seen. But let’s face it, beardsmanship really isn’t one of his strengths at the moment. We’re committed to changing that.”
|Your mustache will never |
look this great. Don’t even
“The Pittsburgh Penguins firmly believe that Sid’s mustache will play a big part in the future of his face,” Shero adds. “Sure, ‘Sid the Kid’ has a great ring to it, but we look forward to the day when we can start calling him, say, ‘Sid the Growing Boy’ or even ‘Sid the Pubescent.’ ”
|Sid and Patchie leStache |
in happier times.
Bylsma laughs fondly. “Steve Sullivan—what a great guy—gave away 20% of his height for Sid. Turns out that’s almost nine and a half inches. And Matt Cooke threw away the rest of his reputation as a clean player, which surprised a lot of guys who didn’t know he had any of it left. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but Aaron [Asham] handed over two of his jocks. This is the kind of thing that brings teams together.”
As if to demonstrate hockey players’ good nature and sportsmanship, even at this most intense of levels, several of Crosby’s opponents have also passed along messages of support.
“Sid just needs to understand that it’s okay, everybody has places on their faces where hair doesn’t grow,” says Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (right).
“I like to call mine ‘eyelids.’ ”
Patchie leStache is expected to be in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’s lineup within a week, likely as a second-line center between Brian Engblom’s carefully sculpted, windswept mullet and Mike Commodore’s colossal orange afro. To make room for Patchie on the roster, Barry Melrose’s hair—known only as “The Melrose”—has finally been cut.
Crosby has taken Patchie’s demotion with the mature and grounded perspective expected from a superstar and team captain. “Hey, I won an Art Ross Trophy when I was still a teenager, and was barely old enough to drink when I won the Stanley Cup,” says Crosby.
“I have almost 600 points already, and I have another 10 or 15 years to get even better at hockey. If laughing at my crappy mustache lets some fat, aging, alcoholic rec-leaguer feel good about himself, that’s cool with me.”
About the Author: Some Guy is a fat, aging, alcoholic rec-league hockey player. He routinely gets hurt by players half his size, and his slap shot is widely viewed as a tragic punchline to a particularly embarrassing joke. On the other hand, his full, luxurious mustache and his willingness to mock others make him feel good about himself.
NOTE1. News sources are now required by law to refer to concussions as “concussion-like symptoms.” Apparently they’re being paid by the word, just like weather forecasters who long ago replaced thunderstorms with “thunderstorm activity.”