Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sidney Crosby's Mustache Demoted to AHL

An already difficult season for Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took a turn for the worse this afternoon when the team announced that his mustache (left), after struggling for the better part of seven seasons, will be sent down to the organization’s farm team, the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

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
bother trying.
Shero has backed that commitment by arranging for Crosby’s mustache to receive exclusive one-on-one coaching from the legendary Lanny McDonald (right), the first (and, to date, only) athlete inducted into both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Mustache Hall of Fame. At his 1991 MHoF induction ceremony, McDonald stated that scoring 500 career goals was his “twelfth greatest achievement,” and that “the other eleven are all whiskers.”

“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.
Crosby’s teammates have been characteristically supportive of their captain during this trying time, according to Coach Bylsma. “A bunch of the guys felt bad for Sid, so they tried to cheer him up by giving away things that were about the same size as his mustache. Kind of a symbolic thing, you know. Jordan [Staal] pulled a button off of one of his dress shirts, and Geno [Evgeni Malkin] shaved off about a third of one of his eyebrows.”

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.

1. 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.”


  1. I just wanted to mention that to this day, two years after you first wrote this, I still think of Crosby and Patchie LeStache as separate entities.

    1. Even if this blog never takes off as an internationally popular, tremendously lucrative venture—and judging by our numbers and our productivity lately, it won't—we can still take heart in knowing that may well have provided the definitive, if still unknown, nickname for Sidney Crosby's facial hair.