As we did at the end of 2008, Puck Daddy offers our review of the news, personalities, oddities, moments and impromptu Photoshop contests that captured the essence of hockey in 2009.
This isn't meant to be a comprehensive review of the last 12 months; you'll not find an objection-by-objection breakdown of Judge Redfield T. Baum's evidentiary approval process in Phoenix bankruptcy court here, for example. We're not entirely sure where you would find that, actually.
What you'll read in a moment are the stories, videos and posts that created the most buzz, provided the most insight or simply wasted the most time in a gleefully effective way during your workday. With that, we begin our look back at 2009 with ...
If nothing else, 2009 was the year when social media and the hyper-fast aggregation of Twitter changed the way fans consume hockey news.
You read about goals before seeing them scored on television seconds later. Trades, signings and draft picks were broken on Twitter; first by fans, then journalists, then eventually the teams themselves. Agents used it to pimp their clients. PR professionals used it to fact-check media.
Like the proliferation of blogs before it, Twitter had its clumsy moments of growth as a new form of mass media. Misinformation could be as prevalent as solid information. One hundred-and-forty-character limits led to garbled messages and constant clarifications. But most of all: The concepts of sarcasm and parody were perilously lost on some otherwise intelligent people.
(Coming Up: Puck Daddy's Man of the Year, Crime Story of the Year, Video of the Year, Interview of the Year Fans of the Year, Announcer of the Year, and, you know it, Jersey Foul of 2009.)
Witness the "Brian Burke" saga, as Sean from the wickedly funny Down Goes Brown blog penned a satirical Twitter feed in the voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager. "I have a hard time believing anyone can look at the feed, spend more than 10 seconds on it and [not] know that it's not the real guy," he said. Plus, it was labeled as a parody right on the page.
Enter the Globe & Mail, which was either painfully oblivious or looking to poop on the party by writing about the feed and asking Burke himself whether he was behind it. The Toronto Star also questioned Burke, who mentioned potential litigation. Suddenly, a fun, under-the-radar sensation that actually celebrated the gruff character Burke portrays was being labeled a scurrilous impersonation that sought to defame him.
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane(notes) gets a rap sheet, goes to court and apologies to the masses, all while making the single most compelling case for exact change since the invention of the "Take-a-Penny" dish.