You may remember Vienna-based artist and Canuck fan Peter Diamond from The Twins, his wonderfully dark, original image that portrayed Daniel and Henrik Sedin as damnable warlocks that mount their victims’ heads on bare trees in a heinous forest. Diamond created the work as a good-luck charm for the Sedin twins’ scoring production way back in Round 2, and it appears to have worked, especially on Henrik Sedin: the Canucks’ captain went off in Round 3, collecting 12 points in 5 games. Recognizing the power he wields, Diamond has created another image as a similar kind of talisman for Roberto Luongo. Check out “The Playoff Beard.”

©2011 Peter Diamond

I think Luongo should actually grow this beard, for two reasons: First, everyone knows he hates wearing a neck protector, but this beard looks thick enough to operate as one. Second, it’s more than a little intimidating. If I came in on a breakaway and saw that guy staring back at me, I would gently slide the puck into his pads while wetting myself. But that’s just me.

You probably know that Luongo’s been shaving regularly, so this image isn’t quite an accurate representation of what he looks like these days. If this artistic liberty has really got you irked, (in which case, I’d suggest getting a life, because the Sedins don’t dress in mage robes, either), Diamond explains the image further on his blog:

Things get hairy at this time of year in the NHL, both figuratively and literally speaking. The post-season is physically and mentally grueling, and Winning the Stanley Cup is as much a testament to sheer endurance as it is to skill, probably more so.

One of the superstitions which take effect in hockey come springtime, and one of the most readily visible signs of the playoff grind, is the Playoff Beard. For those who hold to the tradition, the face goes unshaven until one is eliminated from post-season play. Not unlike the warriors in the current hit TV series Game Of Thrones, who only cut their hair when they lose a fight, a big beard in the playoffs is a sign of victory.

If you’re a hockey fan you’ll notice that in this image is Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, playing in the Stanley Cup Final series starting this week. He may seem a strange choice, as goaltenders are not as much known for the Beard due to the inconvenience of growing one under the mask (though his opponent in the Finals, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, has been sporting a fine Playoff Moustache). But this is in fact a primary reason I chose him for the image: a goaltender sporting a huge beard is not something we’re used to seeing, which gives the image more punch and highlights the weirdness of this ritual. Also, Roberto was quoted saying that with his Italian genes it would be a dangerous affair to let his facial hair grow unchecked, I thought this was pretty funny and couldn’t resist letting my imagination run with it.

Luongo is, in my opinion, under more pressure than any other player in the post-season. His performance has been under constant scrutiny as the team’s highest-paid player and after some bad breakdowns in past post-seasons. The burden of overcoming the team’s past failures seems at time to be squarely on his shoulders. This year he has carried that burden brilliantly and has come through for the Canucks so far. Luongo’s beard in this image, along with the black eye and bandage,  are symbols of all he and the Canucks have been through so far and will have to go through in the coming weeks in order to win the team’s first Stanley Cup.

As I worked on this image and added the swollen eye to the picture, the news leaked that star centermanManny Malhotra, sidelined for much of the season with a brutal injury to the left eye, is making a near-miraculous recovery and may in fact play in the Final series. I’ll be taking this little coincidence as a good sign for the Canucks.

If my previous Canucks portrait ‘The Twins’ can be considered a sort of good-luck charm for the Sedin twins’ scoring production, this piece is a similar kind of invocation: for determination, focus and solidity between the pipes for Bobby Lou. And we’ll throw a little of that good voodoo in for Manny as well.

 

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7 comments

  1. PetriSkriko
    May 30, 2011

    “Zdeno Chara? Never heard of him. BRING IT.”

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  2. Wisp
    May 30, 2011

    Luongo is probably the only player who could probably stop shaving at the start of the playoffs and grow this beard by the end of it.

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  3. Nigel
    May 30, 2011

    That picture looks like Anime style. Imagine that an Anime series with the Canucks that would be awesome.

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    • S!
      May 30, 2011

      My sister loves Japanese dramas and ended up watching one about hockey called Pride. By the end of it, the main character gets drafted by the Canucks and they go on this big winning streak or something. I wish I could find a Youtube clip of it, because nobody (including the caucasian actors playing news broadcasters) could pronounce “Canucks”. It was hilarious and REALLY weird.

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  4. PeeCeeGee
    May 30, 2011

    How did this guy not get the Guardian Project job? Might actually have done something that wasn’t laughable.

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  5. g_bassi13
    May 30, 2011

    Seems like the picture is trying to evoke some of that old Luongo, Jesus imagery.

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  6. Matthew
    May 30, 2011

    We all know that the Luongo shaves before the game and the heavy stubble is what he grows between the start and finish

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