December 27, 2010
This week, Puck Daddy will run 'Best of 2010' posts chronicling the greatest moments, stories, individuals and, yes, Jersey Fouls of 2010. Up first, the most shocking moments.
What do we mean by "shocking on-ice moments"?
We don't mean Sidney Crosby's(notes) Golden Goal or Patrick Kane's(notes) Cup-winning tally. Stunning? Yes. Surprising? Sure. But a goal in overtime to end a game isn't shocking, no matter the magnitude.
Unless, of course, it's "scored" by one's own defenseman. More on that later.
No, we're talking about those moments of sheer lunacy and unpredictability that send shockwaves through the hockey world and become instant classics. Edgy moments that may not have defined 2010 but will linger on in our puckhead minds for years to come.
Some of these you know well. Others you may have forgotten as the year progressed. In either case, here are Puck Daddy's 10 most shocking moments of 2010.
And here ... we ... go.
You may know this first entry by its alternative title:
"YAAAARRRRGH! OMG! BARF BAG!"
In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals, forward Eric Belanger took a high stick from Habs defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron(notes) in the first period. He then decided to play dentist on the bench in a scene that might as well be the NHL's Super Bowl commercial for its example of the ruggedness of pro hockey players.
Of course, Belanger would later discover a different kind of pain courtesy of the Capitals and their free-agent process.
9. FireAntz and Ice Bears Brawl Leads to Forfeiture (NSFW Video - Language)
The Southern Professional Hockey League's Fayetteville FireAntz and the Knoxville Ice Bears met on March 27 but never finished what they started.
The massive brawl above resulted in 19 players and Fayetteville coach Tommy Stewart being ejected; after two more Fayetteville players were tossed in the third period, the Ice Bears were left with two skaters on the ice and game officials were forced to rule the game a forfeit.
8. Ovechkin Pulverizes Jagr in the Winter Olympics
In Russia's preliminary-round game against the Czech Republic in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Alex Ovechkin's(notes) hit on Jaromir Jagr(notes) became the talk of the tournament (until both teams were eventually sent packing).
It was a brutal center-ice hit that sent Jagr on his back, prying the puck away and eventually leading to Evgeni Malkin's(notes) second goal of the game just 1:49 into the third period. By far, the turning point in the game. Jagr took the puck at center ice and saw Ovechkin steaming toward him at the red line. He attempted to avoid the hit by bringing the puck to his backhand and move around him. Unfortunately, it was not 1999 Jagr but 2010 Jagr, so the move results in Ovechkin's shoulder catching Jagr on the head, rocking his helmet back and sending him to the ice.
According to IIHF rules, it should have earned a penalty for a hit to the head, but the NHL officials doing the game didn't whistle it.
Jagr had been one of the surprises of the tournament; he wasn't the same after that hit.
After losses in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger broke hockey protocol by "stealing" the game puck from the ice before his rivals could snag it as a memento.
Why? Said Pronger after Game 2: "Why not? What's wrong? It's sitting there. What else is gonna happen to it? It's sitting there. Sure, why not. You got a problem with that?"
Well OK then.
Pronger's antics were trashed as unsportsmanlike even by Pronger standards, but the genius of the act wasn't lost on us: He deflected criticism of his team by having the media focus on his antics.
From January, in a one-goal game, Atlanta Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg left his crease to make a save on Simon Gagne(notes) of the Philadelphia Flyers ... and then madly scrambled back to the crease after getting his mask caught up in his jersey.
As we said at the time: "The only comparison we can make is when you're putting on a shirt at an odd hour in the morning and you accidentally put your head inside the sleeve -- and then the phone rings."
Consider this a companion piece with Jake Dowell's other wardrobe malfunction for Chicago later in the season.
5. Massive Russian Youth Hockey Brawl
We had seen youth hockey fights before, but this one from Russia was an exceptional bit on unfortunate chaos.
From Russia Today:
"Players of the two Russian youth ice hockey teams -- Penguins and the Northern Star -- are trying to keep pace with professionals in all aspects. 9-year-old stars have proved -- ice hockey is one of the toughest games to play no matter what age you are. A regular game between Russia's young Penguins and Stars turned into all-in massive fight on ice. As a result -- 707 minutes of penalty. Truly a rare record the NHL not always witness."
The KHL, on the other hand ...
This fight occurred a little over three weeks after what was supposed to be a "revenge game" for the Boston Bruins against Matt Cooke and the Pittsburgh Penguins, after Cooke leveled Marc Savard(notes) with a headshot that knocked him out of the lineup for months. Cooke left that game unscathed, leading to outrage around the league.
On April 10 in Atlanta, Cooke hounded Kane all night until the Thrashers' young forward had about enough and lived up to his boxing namesake with the one-punch knockout of one of hockey's preeminent pests.
You know how "Play It Again, Sam" was never actually a line of dialogue in "Casablanca" but is forever quoted as such? This is the "Play It Again Sam" of own-goals -- even if Ryan O'Reilly(notes) got a stick on the puck to deflect it past Evgeni Nabokov(notes) of the San Jose Sharks, it'll always be remembered as Boyle's Folly.
The shocking nature of the moment was amplified by the context: Craig Anderson's(notes) career-defining 51-save night led the Colorado Avalanche to the 1-0 win in overtime and a 2-1 series lead at that point as a No. 8 seed.
Of course, Boyle made up for his gaffe in an impressive manner, scoring the first goal of Game 4 1:12 into it. The Sharks ended up winning the series in six.
(WARNING: The footage may be disturbing to some viewers for the graphic nature of the injury. Please know that before watching the clip.)
Not all the shocking moments can be joyous trips down memory lane.
The clip above chronicled one of the darkest moments for hockey in 2010, as former Team Canada captain Patrice Cormier viciously attacked an opponent on a play that ended up having legal repercussions. From our post:
Playing against Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts, Cormier came onto the ice during a line change and went straight after Mikael Tam, who was carrying the puck across the ice. Just as Tam dumped the puck into the Huskies zone, Cormier launched himself, leading with his elbow, toward the Remparts defenseman. As disgusting as the hit was, the image of Tam's convulsing body laid out at center ice is incredibly frightening and something that's not easily forgettable.
Cormier was suspended for the rest of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season and the playoffs. He pled guilty in October to assault causing bodily harm in connection with that brutal elbow, and Buzzing The Net had the details. He was given an unconditional discharge.
That's one kind of temporary insanity. This is a totally different kind:
1. Jim Playfair Empties The Bench
This CBC video cuts right to the money shots:
Referee Jamie Koharski (son of former NHL zebra Don) whistled a penalty on the play. As Watt was skating to the penalty box he learned that instead of an interference call he'd been assessed five minutes for charging, along with a game misconduct. Watt did not like the call to the extent that he needed to be escorted off the ice by a linesman. Koharski then skated over and explained the decision to Playfair, who took his disagreement with the call to another level.
Here's the full epic via the Heat:
He was fined but not suspended, and was sort of remorseful after the fact:
A jaw-dropping video on the Internet shows Playfair violently shattering two sticks and ripping off his jacket while screaming at officials.
The video had drawn more than 600,000 views on YouTube as of Monday afternoon. It even made CNN.
Playfair isn't proud of the outburst but he's not sure he needs to say sorry either. "It is what it is," a soft-spoken Playfair said Monday after the Heat practised. "I'm not going to apologize for it. It's part of the emotion level you have to have to get to be a professional person. That's what happened."
For that, Jim Playfair, you earn out most shocking moment of 2010.