The Year in Hockey 2012 is going to be remembered as … well, a year without hockey.
That seriously shortchanges the joyous fun of the Los Angeles Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup – they’re pictured here, crossing the streams – and other great hockey stories from the NHL and around the world.
But there’s no escaping the lockout and the huge cloud of frustration and disappointment that looms over all the hockey happenings from the last year.
That said, Puck Daddy’s annual Alternative Year in Hockey Awards provide an oasis for those of us that are sick and tired about feeling sick and tired about the NHL lockout.
It’s here that we honor the quirky stories, magic moments, embarrassing gaffes and other wonders of the 2012 year in hockey.
Here are the awards that just didn’t seem to find a place in the rest of our Year in Hockey coverage ..
The AHL Norfolk Admirals won 28 games in a row (a North American pro hockey record) in the 2011-12 regular season , and then 15 of 18 playoff games to win their first Calder Cup title and earning every drop of that $10,000 bar tab. It will be a team Norfolk will never forget, partly because the ceased to exist after that championship -- the Tampa Bay Lightning switched their AHL affiliation to the Syracuse Crunch after last season.
Putting the Alternative in Alternative Year in Hockey
The dawn of “You Can Play”, Patrick Burke’s incredible advocacy movement to support LGBT hockey players around the world. The support from players and coaches at all levels of hockey has been inspiring.
Uh, guys, the lockout might have obscured the impact of this but NICK LIDSTROM RETIRED IN MAY. Sigh …
The Real Stanley Cup Playoff MVP of the Year
Jonathan Quick’s 2-year-old daughter Madison, who took over the post-Cup championship press conference.
Goal-Scorer of the Year
Scott Gomez went from Feb. 5, 2011 to Feb. 9, 2012 without scoring a goal. Websites were erected in his honor. Bars promised free booze if he ever did score. And on that fateful Feb. 9 evening against the New York Islanders, Scott Gomez was worth every penny of his salary. OK, that’s a lie: But at least he scored a goal.
Sickest High-School Goal of the Year
Alex Mason’s Datsyukian wizardry for Detroit Lakes High School in Minnesota. Filthy even in slow motion.
Goal Celebration of the Year
Evgeny Kuznetsov rows his kayak to center ice during a goal celebration in the KHL.
Line Brawl Announcing Call of the Year
The volume was already at ‘11’ in this Bakersfield Condors and Ontario Reign ECHL line brawl when the goalies decided to go. And then the booth just went ape-crap crazy.
The ‘WTF?!’ Moment of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs
In the second period of Game 2 between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers, cameras picked up an odd sight: a puck resting on the back of Henrik Lundqvist's net as the teams lined up for a faceoff. And wouldn't you know it: The puck the teams were actually playing with ended up right where that dead puck rested, leading Jesse Winchester of the Senators and Ryan McDonagh of the Rangers to stand there dumbfounded as to which puck was the "real" one.
Fan of the Year
Greg from Lemont is a Chicago Blackhawks fan who was honored with a chance to play "Shoot The Puck," an intermission hockey shot contest at United Center. He decided to take full advantage of this opportunity to do what others had only dreamed of doing: Telling lovely Comcast SportsNet Chicago reporter Sarah Kustok, "I love you, Sarah. You’re so pretty and beautiful" at center ice of a Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild game. That day, we were all Greg from Lemont.
Newcomer of the Year (That We All Hope Won’t Be a Total Bust Now That Dale Hunter And His Defensive System Left Washington)
Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.
Best Food-Related Injury of the Year
Dustin Penner of the Los Angeles Kings became the first NHL player to injure his back while eating a stack of flapjacks. Or as Penner summarized the incident: “Apparently it's one of those mysterious things, where you can throw it out (from) sneezing. I just leaned over to dip into some delicious pancakes that my wife made. It's just like it [the pain] wraps around you and squeezes.” Like how your pants squeeze you after downing a stack of delicious pancakes, for example. Penner would go on to have a ton of fun with the pancakes motif, and later would send the Kings to the Stanley Cup Final with an OT goal in Game 5 against Phoenix.
Crossed Streams of the Year
With 46 players there for the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, there weren’t ample bathroom facilities at the Quebec studio. So Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul saved time (and water!) by sharing a squirt. Said Hartnell: “Let's just say we shared the same bathroom at one time. He had to get out there quick. Everyone likes to play swords I guess. … I don't know if I can say that or not. I don't know if he'll be embarrassed or not."
The Rockford Ice Hogs “fiesta” jerseys got the AHL team in hot water with some groups (and for putting Dora The Explorer on the same promotional banners as Corona beer), but c’mon now: That’s a brilliant jersey.
The Best Quote From the Very Excellent Hockey Film “GOON” That We Can Publish Here
“Two rules, man: Stay away from my [expletive] percocets and do you have any [expletive] percocets, man?
Beanbag of the Year
Brian Campbell, showing Pavel Datsyuk how to dangle (potential NSFW).
Dumbest Suspension of the Year
Krys Barch of the Florida Panthers actually earned a 1-game suspension for saying that PK Subban kept “slipping on a banana peel” when the Canadiens defenseman tumbled to the ice during an altercation with Erik Gudbranson. A linesman overheard it, tattled and Barch was given a game misconduct. Colin Campbell of the NHL said Barch “must be held accountable for making a comment that, in the context in which it was made, and in light of the entirety of the circumstances, was offensive and unacceptable."
To whom was it offensive? A white linesman with no context for what is a relatively go-to old school hockey chirp about players that can’t stay on their skates, apparently.
Barch would later gain fame for his beer-fueled lockout rant.
Sneaky Bugger of the Year
Ryane Clowe of the San Jose Sharks, breaking up an odd-man rush from the bench. Hilarious and crafty. And he got away with it!
Science Lesson of the Year
Remember when the clock froze with 1.8 seconds left in a Columbus Blue Jackets’ loss at the Los Angeles Kings in February, allowing Drew Doughty to win the game at 0:00.4? GM Dean Lombardi explained away any malfunction or human error WITH THE POWER OF SCIENCE! From the LA Times:
"Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs — given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see. The delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10—10ths of a second before the delay. This insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes. "That is not an opinion -— that is science -— amazing device quite frankly."
Coulombs: The evil bizarro version of Columbus, always conspiring against the Blue Jackets.
Best Kiss-Cam of the Year
At the 53-second mark of this video, Famous Actor Tom Hanks answers the call of the Kiss-Cam in adorable fashion at a Kings game.
Celebratory Sex Toy of the Year
Lars Eller of the Montreal Canadiens tallied a hat trick on Jan. 4, leading someone to toss a sex toy from the stands onto the ice to commemorate this moment of ecstasy. Condolences to the ice crew worker that had to pick up the red pleasure pole. This would mark the first time a dildo was seen on the ice in Montreal since Max Lapierre was traded.
Weenie Heads of the Year
Forgoing the championship belts and hard hats from other teams, the St. Louis Blues relished the opportunity to wear the "Weenie of the Game" hat after victories.
Patrick Kane Moment of the Year
Bar crawlin’ through Madison with a photo T-shirt of yourself drunk in a limo with two Vancouver townies.
Patrick Kane Award for Best Taxi Crime Hockey Story of the Year
Trent Campbell, leading scorer for the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays, wanted a ride from a cab driver just after 2 a.m. outside a bar in Charleston. The driver had a previous fare and refused. While off searching for that fare, Campbell allegedly jumped in the cab and drove off. The cab was later found abandoned and Campbell was found walking nearby, and was arrested.
Most Absurd Tim Thomas Backlash Moment of the Year
Because obviously anyone who opposes the Obama Administration and supports the tea party is a foaming-at-the-mouth raging racist, TSN’s Dave Hodge felt it necessary to note that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas had three daughters whose first initials spelled out “KKK.” It must have been hell on Thomas after his first daughter was born, and her name was simply code for Potassium.
Best DIY Arena Maintenance of the Year
During a game between Uherske Hradiste and Havirov in the Czech 2nd Division, two players broke a piece of glass along the boards and workers couldn't find a replacement. The refs threatened to abandon the game, but with two minutes remaining and Havirov up 3-2, the teams settled on an alternate solution: Using a spare table to fill the hole, and having Havirov backup goaltender Lukas Danecek hold it.
Defense of the Year
The Bikini Hockey League’s emphatic assertion that they are not, in fact, like those hussies from the Lingerie Football League.
Blog of the Year
Mayor’s Manor, a Los Angeles Kings blog run by John Hoven. Obviously, this blog was helped by the Kings’ run to the Cup offering some choice topics on which to write, but Hoven has turned the Manor into a place for great original reporting on under-reported stories; as well as strong Kings fan community. The Mayor breaks transactions but also breaks some really interesting smaller stories – like the “Hollywood” sign people going after Jonathan Bernier’s mask. There’s video, podcasting, live radio … a fantastic source that might just be the thing to replace Rich Hammond’s day-to-day coverage of the Kings.
Traditional Media MVP of the Year
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune found himself in the middle of the biggest free-agent story of the summer and killed it, including some old school journalism in tracking down Zach Parise at the airport. Overall, one of the best and most accurate insiders in the business.
Best Traditional Media Moment of the Year
CTV reporter Lance Brown’s snarky investigative piece on why the Leafs suck. Sickening!
Lowest Traditional Media Moment of the Year
Sports Illustrated ran a since-deleted gallery of female fans labeled as an “NHL Puck Bunnies” slide show. As Hockey Broad and many others pointed out: “Puck bunnies are a subculture of the female hockey fan demographic; NOT all female fans are puck bunnies (NOT, by a long shot indeed).”
Worst Hockey Highlight Package of the Year
Say it with us: “Brad Doty.”
Media Conspiracy Theory of the Year (tie)
Take your pick: Either John Tortorella of the New York Rangers accusing NBC, the NHL and the referees conspiring to push the Winter Classic into OT, or Tom Renney claiming that the NHL wanted “Hollywood in the playoffs” by giving the Kings the breaks on penalties. Which is absurd, of course; it’s not like Los Angeles won the … oh, right.
Best Phrase From the NHL Lockout
Worst Phrase From the NHL Lockout
"Claim of Disinterest."
Biggest [Expletive]-Tease of the NHL Lockout
The players and owners seem to make huge progress in a Bettman-less meeting, and then it all goes to hell, despite Donald Fehr's happy sunshine press conference.
NHL Lockout hero of the Year
Ilya Bryzgalov, who personified the European player investment in the CBA talks by not only having the kind of contract that's led to the lockout but attempting to leave for outer space.
The lonely ascension of a stoic commissioner (at the lovely Westin Times Square!).
Anthony Kiedis packed on a few, and all 1990s-Jared Leto is saying is give his shirt a chance.
Finally, the Worst Harbinger of Doom for the NHLPA of the Year
Oh, you thought this might be lockout related? No. The worst harbinger of doom for the NHLPA is the fact that they’ll all be replaced within the next 10 years by an army of Jennifer, The Hockey Playing Robot clones. And you don't want her to give you the gears on the ice ...