On a night the San Jose Sharks lost in the shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Joe Thornton lost a piece of himself.
Well, a piece of his beard, at least.
When Thornton and Leafs center Nazem Kadri fought two seconds into Thursday night's contest, Kadri not only gave his opponent a fistful of punches, but grabbed a fistful of Thornton's famous facial hair.
Watch as Nazem Kadri rips off a full chunk of Jumbo's beard during the first period fight. pic.twitter.com/sILBy9wekr— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 5, 2018
The beard fragment ended up in the possession of Sharks backup goaltender Aaron Dell, much to the delight of his teammates on the bench.
That was thanks to the efforts of San Jose's training staff, according to veteran play-by-play broadcaster Randy Hahn, who likely hasn't seen anything quite this strange in his multiple-decades career. The Sharks staff preserved Thornton's beard for safekeeping after the game.
Kadri told reporters afterwards that he didn't intend to grab a piece of Thornton's beard, quipping that he's "a hockey player, not a barber."
He's not the first player to tug on Thornton's beard in a scrum, as David Backes did the same in the 2016 Western Conference Final. Edmonton Oilers winger Pat Marron tugged on San Jose's other famous beard, belonging to Brent Burns, when the teams squared off in December.
There's no word yet if these incidents will finally cause Thornton to shave.