For those New York Islanders fans who monitor the exploits of Mathew Barzal on social media over the summer, they saw the 26-year-old traveling through Italy, learning mixed martial arts, and taking the stage to play guitar. They also saw, as recently as Saturday, Barzal participating at Anders Lee's Kancer Jam fundraiser and doing so with his trademark flow looking in mid-season form.
Well, for those fans that take a significant interest in Barzal's free-flowing locks, you’ll have to wait quite a while to see it again, as he’s starting the season with a fresh cut - and it's short, real short.
Barzal unveiled the new look on Monday afternoon at the team's annual Islanders Children's Foundation Golf Outing, and the reactions came in as fast as the former All-Star's performance to best Connor McDavid in the fastest skater competition.
"Yeah it just fell off," Barzal quipped when asked about his sudden hair loss.
Let's just say many of his admirers were not happy.
does mat barzal not know how to cut his hair short without GETTING A BUZZ CUT - @saharaaaaaa_
Barzal what have you done to your hair - @lightsupbyharry
mat barzal why would you shave your beautiful hair NOT AGAIN - @cthxbabylon
whoever is responsible for barzal’s haircut… sleep with one eye open - @aIittletipsy
on my knees shaking my fist at the sky cursing lou and lane for barzy’s haircut - @sportsenjoyer22
This is the type of reaction usually accompanies Barzal visits to the barbershop. After his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season, Lou Lamoriello became President of Hockey Operations of the Islanders, and Barzal knew he would need a bit of a makeover.
“It was close to my shoulders,” Barzal said after cutting his hair before the start of the 2018-19 season. “I know it’s a rule, so I might as well get used to it now.” When he did that, his hair was still long enough to come out the back of his helmet.
The cuts have been getting shorter and shorter, leading to Monday's reveal.
Of course, what matters most is how Barzal will look on the ice this season alongside Bo Horvat as the two try to rekindle early chemistry. Head coach Lane Lambert wouldn't commit to anything but did indicate that Barzay is open to playing wing and that it would be something they experiment with throughout training camp.