2011 was a year to remember for hockey fans. Unfortunately, there were more downs than ups, and the positives were few and far between. However, unlike ESPN’s year in review, there will be nothing but hockey in this one. I will go through what I thought were either the most interesting, humorous and tragic moments of 2010.
My playoff MVP? This girl…
and the pg version of what Eager saw…
Absolutely fantastic! But hey, she followed the rules set into motion by the Green Men; no touching the glass. But maybe it would have been better if in the words of the great “Sir Mix-A-Lot”, she did “Put ‘Em On The Glass.” And yes, I am sure some of you are going onto YouTube right now to watch the video. The Beezer and Sully have probably already seen it multiple times.
My NHL Picture of the Year? Simple…this…
As a Boston fan, nothing made me happier than to see an arrogant, self centered, idealistic prick like Kessel get taken down a notch or two. You don’t want to play in Boston? Good…go rot in Toronto you fucking selfish prick. Judging by his rapid descent at the NHL Entry Draft, the scouts knew about his lack of team playing ability. Well, it turns out that the rest of the NHL has that premonition as well. And everyone was hard on this guy for taking the picture that we are all enjoying today. And to him, I say thank you Ovie. There, that is probably the only time I will thank him for anything.
My goal of the year? And no, it isn’t from the NHL. It is scored by Nick Boyer, a 17 year old forward of the Strathroy Rockets. Why does it get my vote? Sure, there may have been arguably prettier goals scored in the NHL this year, but keep in mind, this is a 17 year old scoring this one, and for that, it gets the nod from Hotchnuts.
Santa came early for me this year when Colin Campbell stepped down from his position in the NHL as head disciplinarian and Shanahan took over. Now, it is turning into the year of the Shanaban as some will call it. Personally, I think it is just Shanahan trying to regain control of a playground where the kids were allowed to run amok for a number of years without any fear of discipline. Shanahan came out of the gate swinging, and set a preseason record for number of suspensions. It slowly is tapering down, but it still may remain of the year of the concussion. Is it because there is such an emphasis placed on diagnosis that more are being caught? Are the teams doctors becoming better educated on the issue and ensuring that the players receive the correct support and treatment? We are still a long ways away from seeing the end of this issue, but I feel that this year hasn’t had a spike in number of concussions received. When the flagship player of the NHL is sidelined for 10 months due to a concussion, you can bet that it is going to garner a fair amount of media attention.
In 2011, we saw the return of the Winnipeg Jets. For many that were paying attention to the saga, many thought that it was going to be the Coyotes that returned, including myself. However, True North Entertainment remained dedicated in returning hockey to Winnipeg and they purchased the Atlanta Thrashers. For many of the players that came over in the deal, they probably felt something that they didn’t feel in Atlanta; pure excitement and passion for the game. The longtime players for the Thrashers were treated to maximum capacity for their practices. In an arena of 15,500, the Jets were able to sell 13,000 season tickets, and many of those were on 5 year plans. As a result, the immediate future looks very profitable in Winnipeg. Will the Jets return to the playoffs this season? I’m thinking they’ll make it before the leafs will.
Get to know the name Zung Nguyen. He did something that had never been done before. Some may view him as an innovator. Others may view him as a sick fuck. Me? I find a shitload of humor in this. Here is the short version of the story. Nguyen played in the New England Senior Hockey League for the Rogue Squadron. During a game against Young Guns (yes, I agree...every city probably has a dozen teams with this original name), Nguyen became involved in a fight with Dave Bermingham. During the fight, which Nguyen lost soundly, one of Berminghams gloves was thrown over the glass into the stands. After both players were ejected from the game, Bermingham went for a shower. Nguyen, went to the section of the stands where Bermie's glove had landed. Players from Nguyens team just figured that he was going to talk to his girlfriend that had come to watch the game. Nguyen picked up Bermie's glove and made his way to the zamboni area of the rink. Bermie's teammates saw Nguyen crouched down, but didn't think anything of it. Nguyen then went and returned the glove to where he had found it and went for his shower. Bermie emerged from showering and getting changed, and went to pick up his glove. After picking it up, Bermie actually put the fucking thing on, and found that it had been filled with fresh human shit. Bermie rightfully snapped and showed the referee. As a result, Nguyen was kicked out of the league. Wow...I don't know what else to say about that.
What a fucking disgrace and an embarrassment. I don’t know what else to say about that. The only thing that was guaranteed going into the Stanley Cup Finals, was that win or lose, Vancouver was going to riot. I was embarrassed as a Canadian and as a hockey fan to see what unfolded following Vancouver’s game 7 loss to the Bruins. Now, I know the rioters don’t speak for all of the Vancouver Canuck fans out there, but you have to admit, the acts of the many severely outweighed the acts of the few. I hope Vancouver never makes the Finals again. I can’t understand it though…after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver when the Canadian Men won Gold, no riots, no problems. Are Olympic hockey fans different than NHL fans? I doubt it; there were many more security measures in place for the Olympics, as well as a MASSIVE military presence behind the scenes.
This is, without a doubt, the highlight of the year for me. The last time that the Bruins had won the Cup, was the year that I was born. This is the first time that one of my favorite teams has won the championship in their respective leagues. And for those of you following at home, my other teams are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Indians. Yup…no championships in their immediate future I’m thinking. GM Peter Chiarelli has definitely done a good job with this team, and the core group of their players are locked up for the next few years. Could this team win more Stanley Cups? I’m hoping so. And Boston fans, thank you for celebrating with class.
The KHL lost an entire team in September; the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl when their team plane crashed shortly after takeoff. In total, 43 people on board perished in the crash that was caused when the pilot accidentally hit the brakes during takeoff, resulting in the plane failing to reach the required speed for a safe takeoff. The crash affected the entire hockey world, and claimed the lives of former NHL’ers Pavol Demitra, Alexander Karpovtsev, Igor Korolev, Brad McCrimmon, Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek, and Alexander Vasyunov among others. The entire KHL and NHL held moments of silence and ceremonies to honor those that lost their lives.
The Summer of 2010 was by far the most tragic that the NHL has experienced. 3 players were taken from us far too soon. Derek Boogaard passed away after a dangerous combination of alcohol and oxycodone took him in his sleep. Boogaard was an effective gentle giant, and had the respect of all of his teammates and their fans. Boogaard was extremely effective in toning down the pace of a game. All it sometimes took was just a menacing stare or the odd shift to calm down the chippiest of games.
After spending 6 seasons with the Canuck organization, Rick Rypien was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, Rick never had the opportunity to play with his new team. Rick had battled clinical depression, and was given two leaves of absences from the Canucks to deal with his personal issues. However, Rick took his own life on August 15th, a day after he was supposed to fly to Winnipeg to have his knee evaluated. Canucks and Jets fans held vigils in his honor, and both teams held tributes.
Wade Belak was the third NHL’er that was taken from us far too soon. Everyone that knew Belak described him in the same way; funny and the class clown. Wade was selected 12th overall in the 94 entry draft, and had all the makings of a power forward. Wade was always there for his teammates, and was always in great spirits. The cause of death was labeled as a suicide by the Toronto Police, where Belak was filming the newest season of “Battle of the Blades.” His mother disclosed that Belak was suffering from depression and had been on medication for the last 4 -5 years. Of all of the tragedies to befall hockey this summer, this one caught me extremely off guard. Belaks personality was always light hearted and humorous.
Happy New Year to everyone here at the Gab and their families, and all the best in the New Year. Benjamin Franklin said it best; “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.”
Thanks for stopping by. Hotchnuts