PORTLAND -- Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks is a man-child. But his playoff beard is just plain childish.
"Don't chirp at me about my beard," he said following a practice between playoff rounds. "It's coming along nicely."
Thankfully for the Winterhawks and their fans, Jones' game is growing much faster than his playoff beard, which won't connect unless they add about 11 rounds to the post-season.
"He's one of the top guys in the league and he's playing like it nightly," said Portland interim head coach Travis Green.
Just the other night, Jones scored twice in Portland's opening round series clinching win over Everett in Washington.
"Those just came from good play," Jones said. "My teammates were moving the puck around in the offensive zone and got us some chances."
Now there's a chance to move into the Western Conference finals for the 3rd straight spring. It shouldn't be a problem, considering Portland's season-long dominance of Spokane. During the regular season, the Winterhawks posted a record of 7-1-0-1 against the Chiefs. But there's nothing regular about playoff hockey.
"Blank slate for everybody," said Goalie Mac Carruth. "Every round is a blank slate. Doesn't matter what you did in the previous round. Obviously knowing their system from playing so many times helps, but it does for them too. So it should be a good battle."
For the record, the battle of the beards between Carruth and Jones is one-sided. Mac is shutting him out. And, also for the record, the Winterhawks are absolutely thinking about their last two losses in the WHL Finals. And they're thinking about the punishment the league handed down earlier this season, which is why Green -- and not suspended head coach/GM Mike Johnston -- is speaking to us now as he has been all season.
"Any time you get as close as they have and don't win, it's tough," Green said. "When you lose it's a lot of adversity. When you're that close and don't get it (it's tough). So these guys want it bad."
Hopefully they can go the distance just so Jones can get that beard to come in a little better.