Top 5 NHL stories of 2012

Look back at the NHL in 2012,  there is emptiness. There were the accomplishments of Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Erik Karlsson; big moves like Rick Nash going from Columbus to Broadway; the endless Phoenix Coyotes saga. But what did we get this fall and early winter? Nothing. No hope. No anticipation. No build-up to the best stuff. Just labor battles and cancellations. As we count down the top five stories of 2012, we can only wonder what stories were never written and never will be. — By Nicholas J. Cotsonika

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Sidney Crosby #87 Of The Pittsburgh Penguins Looks On Against The Philadelphia Flyers In Game Five Of The Eastern Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 20: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 20, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Nicklas Lidstrom #5 Of The Detroit Red Wings In Action Getty Images

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 06: Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on February 6, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Red Wings 3-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Anze Kopitar #11 Of The Los Angeles Kings Gives Team Captain Dustin Brown #23 A Playful Elbow Bump As Brown Carries Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings gives team captain Dustin Brown #23 a playful elbow bump as Brown carries the Stanley Cup to center ice during the rally in Staples Center after the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Victory Parade on June 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Hockey Fans Protest Outside NHL Offices

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 1: Hockey fans protest the National Hockey League (NHL) lockout outside the NHL offices in midtown Manhattan December 1, 2012 in New York City. The NHL and the NHL Players' Association have been at a stalemate in brokering a new collective bargaining agreement leaving teams locked out for over 75 days. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)