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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 01/ 1/2011

Karl Alzner's Winter Classic beard

By Dan Steinberg

(Photos by Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

Much as I've tried to break free from the athlete facial-hair beat, I just can't quit it. And so, Karl Alzner, care to explain what's going on this week?

"Originally I was gonna just grow a beard, and then I decided just to change it up a little bit and add something," Alzner said Saturday morning, after the Caps skated at Consol Energy Center. "No specific reason, [but it's] In honor of the Winter Classic. I wasn't shooting for Wolverine, but that's what I've been getting. So I'll take it."

It is, pretty clearly, the best Winter Classic-specific beard that the NHL has to offer this weekend. John Erskine, pictured below, has the Caps' second-best facial hair, but there's a steep drop.

"It's kind of cool, I guess," John Carlson said of Alzner's get-up. "I think the thought process was to keep him warm. Like, my dad grew a little bit of a goatee and whatnot just in case it was extra cold. I don't think that's needed much right now."

Indeed. It's warm and rainy in this city. Anyhow, for what it's worth, at least one version of the origins of Wolverine says he was raised in a mining colony in British Columbia, which is, of course, Alzner's home province. So maybe the look actually fits.

Alzner, though, said he was shaving after the Winter Classic, win or lose. So enjoy this while you can.

(Also, here's Alex Ovechkin playing football at Heinz Field.)

By Dan Steinberg  | January 1, 2011; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Knuble says officials need to "work a miracle" on Winter Classic ice

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