With the year coming to a close, the members of Hockey World Blog decided to reflect on the exciting events of 2010. There have been many goals, saves, checks and fights that have occurred in rinks all over the world, but few moments stand out from the past year like those discussed below. Take a look at what each of us decided was our favorite moment relating to hockey over the course of the past year.
Eddie- Hockey Gets Super Sized
I’ve enjoyed plenty of great things over the course of my hockey life. From watching the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup, Team USA winning two silver medals in my lifetime, and to winning various championships in my youth hockey days, a lot of good things have happened to me over the course of my short life. But 2010 was one that will be pretty hard to top as I’ve had the chance to watch four hockey games amongst the largest crowds ever to watch a game.
It began in February where I took a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Camp Randall Classic. While I am not a big fan of the University of Michigan, I wanted to see the maize and blue win simply because I was with a group of Michigan fans in a visiting teams stadium and didn’t want to feel the wrath of being in opponents apparel in another city. It was a great trip because I got to attend without much rooting interest and I was able to take in more of the experience in and around a good college town.
Fast forward two months to Ford Field where the Frozen Four was held. While a lot of hockey snobs bashed the event because of the massive size of Ford Field and the lack of attendance, I enjoyed the event. I had the opportunity to watch all four teams during the course of the NCAA tournament and had the chance to watch Wisconsin and Miami in person during the regular season. It was Boston College who came out winning the championship at the end. The only clunker of the Frozen Four was the lopsided scores of all four games.
And as recently as three weeks ago, I was at the biggest event of them all: The Big Chill. Another game that turned out to be a dud because of the 5-0 score. I don’t think we will ever see non-traditional hockey events again on the scale we saw in 2010 (I can’t forget about the Winter Classic at Fenway and the USA-Germany World Championship game either), which is why this was my favorite hockey moment in 2010.
Chris- Olympic Pride
While Team USA ultimately earned the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver after falling to Canada in overtime, their incredible run to the gold medal game is by far my favorite moment of 2010 for several reasons. Before the Olympics started, most hockey fans would have given the medals, in no particular order, to Russia, Sweden and Canada. Team USA was hardly a blip on the radar, but they played an aggressive, tough style of hockey and never gave up fighting. How they played and fought during those games against teams that were arguably more skilled offensively really seemed to embody the American spirit, especially during harsh economic times when millions of people were having to enlist that fighting spirit themselves in order to keep a roof over their family and make sure they have enough to get them through the day.
I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to several of the games on the radio while I was at work. All of my coworkers know I’m a huge hockey fan, but what surprised me was how many of them because interested in the progress of Team USA. They constantly asked for updates on the score and who had the goals and generally how we were performing. People who generally don’t care about hockey were captivated by the fighting effort of Team USA. When USA ultimately fell to Canada in overtime of the gold medal game, you couldn’t help but be proud of USA’s accomplishments in Vancouver. As cliche as it is, those guys came into the Winter Olympics as the underdogs with less genuine skill and less All-Star talent on their roster than teams like Russia and Canada, but they rallied and worked hard the entire way. If that doesn’t embody the American spirit than I don’t know what does.
Matt- Lightning Strikes Tampa
It seems that every season now, people just assume its going to be a battle between Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for the Hart Trophy, among other season ending awards. They’re both prolific scorers, and surely deserve to be considered every year. However, my favorite moment of 2010 has been the emergence of Steven Stamkos.
Last season, Stamkos scored 51 goals to tie for the league lead, and picked up 95 points, which lead all Tampa Bay players. This season, his red hot streak continues as he’s currently on pace for more than 60 goals. In his short time with the Lightning, he has quickly become the new and young face of the franchise. It’s easy to say that the Lightning wouldn’t be in the position they are today if it weren’t for Stamkos.
EB – 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Every playoffs has it’s ooh’s and aah’s, but this one was a goody.
Who ever would have predicted the Montreal Canadiens upsetting the Washington Capitals in the first round? The Caps were up 3 – 1 in the series, the series in their grasp, only to be outdone by an amazing back-against-the-wall comeback. I guess Alex Ovechkin’s chin music towards Canadiens’ goaltender Jaroslav Halak did not have the effect Ovie was looking for.
What about the Canadiens upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round? I don’t recall too many 8th seeds taking down the number 1 and 4 seed in the playoffs. The Canadiens as a whole were one big Cinderella Story indeed.
A semi-nail biter between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Detroit Red Wings. The teams faced one another in the first round going toe to toe. The game was eventually decided in game seven. One would expect it to be yet another close battle, however the Wings pulled it out with a 6 – 1 pounding in Phoenix.
Speaking of Cinderella stories, what about the Philadelphia Flyers? The team edged there way into the playoffs, took the New Jersey Devils in 5, the Boston Bruins in 7 and the Montreal Canadiens in 5. They eventually lost in the Cup finals, but at least they did it with class got that far.
And lastly, the Chicago Blackhawks. Chrissy Pronger’s puck stealing antics and the Philadelphia Flyers were no scare for the Blackhawks riding their gravy train. Defeating the Nashville Predators in 6, the expected Cup contenders Vancouver Canucks in 6, sweeping the San Jose Sharks, finally finishing Philly in 6 with an incredible game winning goal from Patrick Kane. Is it in? Why is he jumping? Are we supposed to cheer? This silence is eerie. The Cup returned to Chicago, last sighting was in 1961, 49 years ago.