Finally, after three seasons, we might have discovered a part of hockey that Cale Makar can't absolutely dominate.
It was the beginning of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. In comparison to some of his Colorado Avalanche teammates, Makar was practically fresh-faced: a reedy mustache, unconnected to some postseason scruff framing his jawline under cheeks that are in a near-constant state of blush.
"Have you given up on a playoff beard?" a reporter asked the 23-year-old defenseman.
To be asked if one has given up on a beard while actively attempting to grow one spoke volumes about a lack of follicle volume. But Makar, undaunted and impressively optimistic, responded: "I'm just going to let it go and see where it takes us."
In that sense, Cale Makar's beard captures the essence of Cale Makar the player: Just let him go and see what happens. Teammates and opponents alike have witnessed his incomparable speed on the back end, combined with offensive prowess that leaves them all guessing what he's going to do next.
"You never know what to expect," one NHL veteran said. "You can prescout him. A lot of guys have tendencies. But you don't know what you're getting with Makar. He's so quick-moving, especially side-to-side."
Another NHL veteran who has taken on Makar added: "You never know what he's going to be that night. He could shimmy me, spin-o-rama me or he can fire it right through me. There are just so many ways that he can attack you."