Close your eyes. Think about 2016. What do you see?
PLEASE STOP SCREAMING AND PUNCHING THE WALL IN UNINHIBITED RAGE!!!!
OK, now that you calmed down, we’re talking about what you see when you think of 2016 in the world of hockey. What moments? What players? What sublime and ridiculous things?
In our estimation, there are the top 10 images for 2016 in hockey. Put your suggestions in the comments!
10 – TNA For Life
The World Cup of Hockey wasn’t exactly a blockbuster success – and in Team USA’s case, it was the “Collateral Beauty” of hockey tournaments – but it did provide us with the glory that was Team North America, whose boundless enthusiasm and lack of repercussions combined to create the most thrilling team in recent memory. We’re going to look back at pictures like this long after most of the players on this roster have hoisted their first Cups and postseason award trophies. (For Auston Matthews, the latter before the former, of course.)
9 – GAAHHHHHHHHHHH!
We shall remember 2016 as the Edmonton Oilers introduced their new mascot: The cover model of an issue of “Cat Fancy,” as guest-edited by Guillermo del Toro. Hunter, the Canadian Lynx, was instant nightmare fuel and the Oilers vowed to soften some of his features so they don’t terrify children. Now, where to start: The soul-sucking eyes or the blood-sucking fangs? (Via @kaylee_mcl)
8 – Jones and Johansen
Seth Jones and Ryan Johansen were swapped for each other in a blockbuster trade between the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. And like ships passing in the night, they actually bumped into each other at the airport while reporting to their new teams, courtesy of RyJo’s Instagram. (No word if they shared some Auntie Anne’s pretzels.)
7 – Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson’s wife Nicholle Anderson was diagnosed with cancer in October. The goalie took a few leaves of absence from the Ottawa Senators to be with his family, and the emotional impact whenever he returned was palpable. There was the shutout on the night he came back against the Edmonton Oilers, leading his opponents applauding him during the three stars of the night. On Nov. 5, Anderson wore this Hockey Fights Cancer jersey with the No. 23 on it – his wife’s favorite number – and the fans in Ottawa had his back.
6 – Shirtless Joe Thornton
Oh, nothing, just the baby smooth chest of Joe Thornton as he and fellow beard enthusiast Brent Burns take a stroll around Pittsburgh. In October.
5 – Gerard Gallant cab
The Florida Panthers fired coach Gerard Gallant on Nov. 27 after he led the team to a division title in 2015-16. They fired him on the road, after the team had played at the Carolina Hurricanes. And the whole sordid affair was really brought home when Gallant was photographed with all his stuff, eventually shoving it all in a taxi. (The real story is slightly less pathetic.)
4 – P.K. Subban and Brent Burns
The NHL All-Star Game was, for once, actually fun rather than a two-day cocktail of middling results and palpable apathy. It helps when you have players that really get into the spirit of the thing, such as P.K. “Jagr Mullet” Subban and Brent “[Wookie Noises]” Burns.
3 – Brendan Shanahan
“Oh, hi there. Didn’t see you. Say, remember when everyone was like, ‘That incredibly handsome fellow from the Department of Player Safety, taking over the Toronto Maple Leafs? Why, that’ll never work!’ and then they were like ‘Tanking is bad for hockey!’ and all that stuff?’
‘Well, say hello to my little lottery friend …”
2 – John Scott
Speaking of Make The All-Star Game Great Again, the sight of John Scott scoring two goals and collecting an MVP check from Gary Bettman was only trumped by the sight of his Pacific Division hoisting him upon their shoulders to end his fan-voted fable and provide Mitch Albom with a movie poster.
But it’s not the photo of the year …
1 – Phil Kessel
“Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion.” – B. Obama
Puck Daddy Year In Hockey 2016
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