Thu Dec 22 12:08pm EST
Bloopers are the moments in sports that relieve the tension in the air, put a smile on our faces and make us remember that these are just games in the grand scheme of things. Embarrassing moments for the athletes involved, yes; but moments we, and most times they, can look back and have a laugh about.
When you play a sport on ice, at high speeds and with a small frozen puck, the probability of something wacky happening is pretty high.
While hockey players provide us with memorable highlights on a nightly basis, they also have given us some funny lowlights that will stay on the blooper reels for some time.
What 10 plays made our list? Read on for out 10 worst hockey bloopers of 2011.
10. Dustin Brown's water bottle malfunction
"Heading to the rink early today have to help the trainers mark all the water bottles with arrows. #funnymomentscaughtincamera"
9. The trials and tribulations of Erik Ersberg's KHL experience
Goaltender Erik Ersberg played 53 games with the Los Angeles Kings before signing with the KHL's Salavat Yulayev in 2010. In 29 games since, he's already had three separate occasions that he'd like to forget about. One, during the KHL Gagarin Cup; another in August; and to complete the trifecta, this error that might make Vesa Toskala blush:
8. Swiss defenseman's great shot beats his own goalie
If the puck had gone in the other net Sven Berger of the Kloten Flyers in the Swiss League would have had a beauty snipe found on highlight reels for the night. Instead, Berger's top-shelf wrister found its way past his own netminder:
7. Score a goal, hug an opponent, get punched
Henrik Eriksson of Mora IK of the Elitserien in Sweden enjoys riling up other teams and their fanbases. During a previous game against Leksand, in which Mora was victorious, Eriksson raised all five fingers in the air towards the home crowd signaling his team's fifth consecutive win over their rivals.
So it came as no surprise when he scored a go-ahead goal during a 3-2 loss to Leksand in October that he decided to hug opponent Alen Bibic during his celebration, only to get punched in the mug right after.
6. Ryan Suter's own goal
Just four minutes before this goal that cut Nashville's lead to 5-3, Teemu Selanne's shot glanced over a slider Suter and passed Pekka Rinne. That goal wasn't as bad as Suter displaying his hackey sack skills to make the final 27 seconds a bit more tense:
5. Erik Johnson's muffed clearance ends up in his own net
"Heck of a shot by Johnson there." You know it's bad when the opposing television crew is complimenting your shot on an own goal.
Seven games later Johnson was dealt to Colorado. Coincidence?
4. Steven Stamkos' penalty shot fail
Look, we've all lost the puck off our stick at one time or another heading in on a breakaway, penalty shot or shootout attempt (right, Ilya?), but what makes this worse for Stamkos is the slow slide into the end boards, hockey's version of the "Walk of Shame":
3. Cal Clutterbuck goes end over end after missed check
2. Michael Ryder's day with the Stanley Cup begins with a dent
As his day with the Cup was set to begin, Ryder held a brief send-off party at a St. John's hotel before hopping on a helicopter for a flight to his hometown of Bonavista, Newfoundland. As the Cup sat on a table beside him, the wind (or a bad table leg) forced the greatest trophy in all of sports to take a tumble and pick up a battle wound.
1. Craig Smith airs out an easy empty-netter
With under a minute and a half to play as the Predators were about to wrap up a victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Smith grabbed the puck and headed towards the empty cage about to put home his eighth goal of the season. Rather than just shoot the puck nice and easy into the net, Smith tried to emphatically go top shelf, at first fooling the crowd and spotlight operator, before everyone realized he'd actually managed to put the puck into the stands: