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THE FACEOFF

Brodeur Still Razor Sharp

May 30, 2003|Jerry Crowe

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — He loves the tradition, supports the unmistakable message it sends through the dressing room: All for one and one for all.

But it's not for him.

While goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Mighty Ducks sprouts a scraggly, full beard, a sign of solidarity among his teammates in keeping with an age-old hockey playoff custom, counterpart Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils remains clean shaven, his face smooth, razor at the ready.

"It's too itchy with my mask," Brodeur said. "I'd love to do it, to be a part of the guys, but it's just too itchy, and the mustache doesn't look too good."

So what does he think of Giguere's hairy face?

"It's awesome," he said. "I don't know how he feels about having the beard, but I think it's one of the greatest things about our sport. You go to the playoffs and you don't look too good. We have guys making the big [mutton] chops and making the big goatees. I think it's great. You don't see that in too many sports."

Brodeur has tried to join in.

"I usually have a little soul patch," he said, running his fingers across his lower lip, "but after I lost two games against Ottawa [last week], I shaved it off."

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