Puck Daddy’s 2014 Alternative Year in Hockey Awards

Year in Hockey 2014
Year in Hockey 2014

Disease. Gluttony. Dishonesty. Sin. 

The end times?

No, the Year in Hockey 2014!

While we have most of the bases covered in our Year in Review package on Puck Daddy, there are just some stories that defy categorization. In other cases, there are some year-end awards that deserve more than one winner.

Here is our annual look back at the other stuff that happened in the last 12 months. Check out our 2013 Alt-Hockey Awards here.

We begin with the best team in hockey …

Team of the Year

Team Slovenia. ‘Slovenderella’ showed up in Sochi having never qualified for a men’s Olympic hockey tournament before. Their roster featured one NHL star in Anze Kopitar and three guys named "Ziga.” They didn’t even look the part: In an event filled with the iconic colors on hockey sweaters, theirs could have been confused for a club hockey team of Seattle Seahawks fans.

All they did was hang with host Russia and beat Slovakia in preliminary play, and then shut out Austria for their first-ever elimination round victory. For a nation with around 700 active hockey players, it was a run that could change the course of the sport back home.

Trophy Celebration of the Year

The Melbourne Mustangs of the Australian Ice Hockey League captured the Goodall Cup over their archrivals the Melbourne Ice. To celebrate, goalie Michael James, uh, let the joey out of the pouch behind the trophy. 

Quitters of the Year

Team USA. Losing to Canada in the semifinals made them all boo-boo-faced, and resulted in the worst 24 hours in American Olympic hockey history as they followed with a 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Finland in the bronze medal game. Dan Bylsma took the brunt of the blame, and rightfully so.

Coach of the Year

Ted Nolan. He led Latvia to respectability in Sochi, pushing Team Canada to the brink. Then he really did the impossible: Driving the Buffalo Sabres’ tank out of the basement, turning a team that seemed destined for disaster into one that’s tough to play against and, gulp, exudes pride.

Drunks of the Year

Team Austria, who prepared for their Olympic quarterfinal game vs. Slovenia by clubbing all night and getting blitzed. 

P.K. Subban Award For Being As Awesome As P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban. Yes, that “dressing up like an old dude to surprise a bunch of kids” thing was great. But not as great as drinking from a (faux) Stanley Cup with Seth Rogen … with a straw.

League-Wide Epidemic of the Year

Mumps? Please. Everyone knows that the real scourge of the NHL this season was water-bottle squirting. Corey Perry vs. Jeff Carter’s glove. Shawn Thornton vs. P.K. Subban. And of course, Henrik Lundqvist on Sidney Crosby. Well, come to think of it, this is how mumps happen, too …

Two-Sport Athletes of the Year

Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux, executing a hockey-stick alley-oop against the Harlem Globetrotters.

#Meme Of The Year

#plekanecing pic.twitter.com/Wjkkc21Sub

— THE Bruins|DieHard™ (@FlowWitheGo) May 28, 2014

In honor of the Montreal Canadiens center and his embellishment.

Hockey Writer of the Year 

Scott Burnside, ESPN.com. He was one of two reporters USA Hockey allowed into the selection process for the 2014 Olympics, and his blow-by-blow chronicle blew the bloody doors off that process. His reporting sparked a debate about access and what’s on or off the record; but the fact is that it’ll stand up as one of the most illuminating stories about the internal debates of team building ever written. The fact that it hit the web while David Poile was giving his post-selection press conference made its impact even more palpable.

Condors
Condors

Jersey of the Year

The Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL dipped into sitcom nostalgia and pulled out the Seinfeld puffy shirt.

Keepsake of the Year

Tomas Hertl getting a signed stick from Marty Biron, the New York Rangers goalie who he “retired” with that between the legs goal.

Steve Miller Award (For a Linesman Misplacing an Historic Puck)

After the Calgary Flames’ Corban Knight scored his first NHL goal, linesman Lonnie Cameron tossed the puck into the Saddledome stands to a young fan, unaware of the milestone for the Flames rookie. FYI: Last summer, during the floods in Calgary, Knight's home was destroyed and he lost much of his hockey memorabilia, including awards, trophies and milestone pucks from his youth. So … oops? 

Hair of the Year

Brian Burke. We were actually growing concerned that his hair would become sentient and murder Bob Hartley during Flames mini-camp. 

Scratch Mine, I’ll Scratch Yours of the Year

The Ilya Kovalchuk Reprieve. Gary Bettman found a couple of owners to buy up the toxic debt of the New Jersey Devils. And hey, what do you know: The team’s first-round pick, which it was due to surrender thanks to the cap circumvention punishment for Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract, was reestablished (as pick No. 30 in the first round). The Devils’ fine was also reduced. Thanks again for taking on that debt boys!

Impression of the Year

Minor league goalie sensation David Leggio’s pitch-perfect Pierre McGuire. Sorry, that should be WILLIAMSVILLE NEW YORK’S DAVID LEGGIO WHO PLAYED HIS COLLEGE HOCKEY AT CLARKSON.

It’s All Ovechkin’s Fault of the Year

Zinetulla Bilyaletdinov. While the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs and another coach was axed while calling Ovechkin a quitter, it was Team Russia’s head coach that won the blame game with Alex Ovechkin, calling him out after Russia was stunned by Finland in the Olympic quarterfinals. Or, more accurately, the now former coach of the Russian national team. 

Worst Shot of the Year

In the waning moments of their 3-2 victory over Latvia in the IIHF world championships, Switzerland had a chance to double their lead with an empty-net goal. After Kaspars Daugavins turned the puck over in the offensive zone, Reto Suri and Thomas Rufenact broke away on a 2-on-0. Yet, things would soon go awry. A 2-on-0 empty net situation ended with the puck hitting off the post and a Swiss player ending up in the net instead. You know it's never good when even the announcers are laughing at you.

Lawsuit of the Year

Two grandparents sue the Los Angeles Kings after a puck at their practice rink hit grandma and, among other things, grandpa claimed he lost “enjoyment of sexual relations” with his wife. Yowzah.

Tie of the Year

Ohio High School Athletic Association Championship. St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview battled through regulation in their Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship game on Saturday. Then they battled in overtime. And another overtime. And another and another and another and another and another, until the teams and OHSAA administrators came to a mutual, controversial decision: The game would end in a 1-1 tie after the seventh extra session and the schools would be crowned co-state champions, due to concerns over player safety. (There’s a rule that says title games can’t end in a shootout.)

Omission of the Year

In which Reebok forgets the eventual Conn Smythe winner, Justin Williams, on the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup Final shirt.

Sean Avery of the Year

How could the former New York Rangers star top getting ousted from “Dancing With The Stars” and blaming the producers? How about quitting what would have been his New York stage debut days before it was due to open in a giant misunderstanding over a slice of pizza?

Worst Fans of the Year

Talgat Zhailauov is a 28-year old KHL forward who posted 10 goals and 31 points in 52 games this season. He helped set up the winning goal in Barys' Game 4 conquest over Avtomobilist. Upon the team's arrival back home, some fans greeted them at the airport and decided to celebrate by tossing Zhailauov in the air.

That wasn't a great idea. According to reports, Zhailauov was taken to a hospital and suffered a concussion.

Greatest Fans of the Year

CenturyLink Arena, home of the ECHL Idaho Steelheads, was sued by fans Brady Peck, Michele Bonds and William and Brittany Graham, who were seeking $10,000 in damages. The reason? They claim the arena defrauded customers by charging $3 more for a large cup of beer that actually contained the same amount of brew as a squattier cup labeled “small.”

Fan Gwen Gibbs posted a video that showed the scam; the video went viral, getting more than 1.2 million YouTube views.

The result? The arena acknowledged the problem and increased the large cup to 24oz at the same price for the rest of the season.

Never, ever, ever mess with hockey fans and their brews.