#10- Tim Thomas Turns Heel
From a loved Stanley Cup champ, to just about hated by most fans, goalie Timmy Thomas took a massive popularity plunge. Win the Cup, boast a great playoff run season, then decide to take a year off? I mean yes, family is important, but there’s another family of a couple hundred thousand people you need to think about as well. Not to mention his decision to not attend the White House as the President congratulated players after their championship. Sure he has the right to not be fan of Obama and his policies, but he’s still our President for Pete’s sake.
#9- Patrick Kane at it Again
After two other public partying mini scandals, Kane is under scrutiny again for his not-so-sober antics. Having a little too much “fun” for Cinco de Mayo, in Madison, WI of all places, sir Patrick made blog headlines again while getting wild. Although he did nothing illegal, he needs to remember he represents a team/family/city that many people look up to. Yes, he was on his own time. Yes, people should mind their own business. But in today’s social-media-hungry-world where almost nothing gets unnoticed, Kane is not exactly acting as a “model athlete”.
#8- Raffi Torres Drills Hossa into Next Season
Hockey is a physical game, and Torres made a physical, controversial play. After all the other suspensions from Hall Monitor Brendan Shanahan, Torres maybe should have thought twice about that hit. Was that worth a 25 game suspension? I think not. Additionally, he seriously injured a fellow player, and no one wants to see that
#7- Deaths of Rypien and Belak
Always sad to see beloved players, or anyone for that matter, pass away. In August 2011 we saw the deaths of both Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. From these tragic incidents (and that of Derek Boogaard who you’ll read about in #3), we hope that not only the NHL but all sports leagues will be forced to pursue better research on athlete’s brains. More sufficient programs are needed to identify players’ mental health issues before they take the ice, in addition to their physical health.
#6- One Last Hurrah, Not
This goes hand-in-hand with the lockout, but I think it’s sad enough to have its own bit. Not seeing the veteran players get one last shot in the NHL was pretty devastating this year. Examples: Jaromír Jagr and Ray Whitney signed short term deals with Dallas and looked ready to tackle at least one last big year in the pros, and Teemu Selänne did the same with the Ducks. Some of these guys have been around awhile, but you have to give them credit for wanting to still play the game they love being 40+years old. Sad to see them miss out on games right now.
#5- Departure of a Hall of Famer
Nicklas Lidstrom retires as a player from the NHL after 20 seasons with the same team that drafted him, the Detroit Red Wings. Indisputably, you can hate the Wings like a lot of people hate the Yankees, but after notching 4 Stanley Cups, 7 Norris Trophies, and an Olympic Gold you can’t really hate the player. All Lidstrom’s teammates agree that he was one of the hardest working players both on and off the ice. Even in his last year, at the age of 42, Lidstrom was in better shape than probably 80% of the rest of the NHL. His work ethic is unbelievable, a true idol. Like most of you, I hoped he would have played one more season and have gotten to skate at “The Big House” in the 2013 Winter Classic… but we all know how that turned out…
#4- NHL13, or better yet, NHL14
With no season to watch I know a lot of people are itching to get some hockey action, and the game system is where they turn. NHL13 came out with a few cool new improvements (“True Performance Skating”, “I.Q”, etc.), but nothing crazy awesome. There is a neat looking Stanley Cup Edition, but for $70 I’d absolutely rather play old school Nintendo NHL94 and buy myself a few 30-racks. What’s sad is that EA really won’t be able to do much for NHL14. I mean, really. Moreover, I’m anxious to see who goes on the cover of that edition.
#3- Serious Concussions
Derek Boogaard died back in May 2011 at only 28 years old from accidental drug and alcohol overdose while recovering from a concussion. Like stated earlier, the NHL needs to put more time and energy into the new information coming out about concussions. A posthumous examination of Boogaard’s brain found he had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy more advanced than that seen in some former enforcers who had died in middle age.
There were record numbers as far as concussions go last season, and many were debilitating for their recipients. Chris Pronger is one of the toughest men in the NHL, someone who has never been stopped by scary injuries or multiple surgeries, and his season was cut hugely short with a head injury.
In 2012, Boogaard’s parents filed a suit against the NHL players’ union that may raise some major questions and shine light on the enormous ramifications these injuries cause.
#2- The Kings Win the Cup
Alright, as a Coyotes fan (who watched with white knuckles as the ‘Yotes lost the Western Conference Finals to LA), I’m a liiiitttttlle biased. However, I know a lot of hockey fans who were pretty saddened with the results of the 2012 Playoffs.
First of all, the Boston Bruins should have pulled out a better run. What happened?! I don’t know, but it wasn’t pretty.
New York Rangers definitely could have been beat the Devils. Quite an upset there.
But then even with the New Jersey Devils- so much potential, so much disappointment.
Like a lot of sports fans, I usually find it fun to see the underdog climb his way to the top, but please shoot me if ever you see a Doughty jersey anywhere near me.
#1- The NHL Lockout (shocker)
Obviously. No one wanted to see the NHL season vanish. Over 100 days of no NHL have plagued the end of our year and all the fun has been sucked away from what could have been an amazing season. Bettman has become “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” in households all across Canada and the US, even Fehr is under fire for preventing an agreement from being made, and the owners may all kiss our rumps.
Hope I didn’t depress you all too much, but it’s hard to recap a positive year in hockey when there were so many “Not”s. Let’s wash those worries away (in a beer or two if need be) and say farewell to 2012- good riddance!!!!!