It’s the most wonderful time of the year (note: except for all the other times I say that), made better because for the third time in five years, a team I love has won the Cup, the first two being the Kings; one might suggest my third team, the Calgary Flames, are now due, but one might be laughed at cruelly for saying such a thing about my beloved perennial bubble team. Anyway, I don’t even need to CHECK to know that it’s been seven long years since the Penguins hoisted Lord Stanley’s goblet. That’s because I watched them take down the Red Wings in seven games while seven months pregnant — that’s a LOT of sevens in this posts — with my Pittsburgh-native hubby over in Hawaii on a job, both of us blissfully unaware that we were 11 days away from becoming parents. That same year the Steelers won the Super Bowl, by the way, so the beans in utero were REALLY GOOD sports luck.

Also, the Pens won the cup after firing the head coach mid-season and replacing them with Mike Sullivan, a guy who whipped them into shape — only the sixth time that’s happened, two others being Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh in 2009 and the Kings in 2012 with Darryl Sutter. I LOVE a factoid, y’all. Congrats to Mike Sullivan, who ought to get a meaty bonus.

Enough nattering. TO THE BEARDS, which we shall chronicle in order from feral to least-furry.

[Photos: Getty]