Through New Year's Eve, your friends at Puck Daddy fondly recall the Year in Hockey for 2012, such as it wasn't.
The NHL All-Star Game's Breakaway Challenge competition has become the League's home for prop comedy, and Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane didn't disappoint.
With Eminem's "Superman" playing over the ScotiaBank Place speakers, Kane put on a cape and Clark Kent glasses (in complete violation of the character's rules, mind you) during one of his shootout attempts — a concept he came up with 24 hours before the event in Ottawa.
Yet when it comes to the Top 10 most memorable images of 2012 in hockey, Kane didn't make the cut. Mainly because we couldn't quite decide which one of these instant classics would be the quintessential "Patrick Kane Drinks Up Madison" image. And by that we mean which one would be featured on his T-shirt during the next bar crawl.
But also because there were some incredible, lasting images from this year in hockey.
Here ... we ... go:
10. Stanley Cup Arrives at Ground Zero
After winning the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings made a special journey to New York City to pay tribute to former club scouts Garnet 'Ace' Bailey and Mark Bavis, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Along with the Cup, Kathy Bavis Sylvester and Katherine Bailey posed with jerseys honoring their family members, whose names are etched on the reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan.
9. Brendan Shanahan Meets His Critic
Not every photo has to come from Getty or AP. Witness this fan-taken image of a New York Rangers supporter giving NHL senior VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan the gears with his sign before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals … and Shanny himself reveling in the criticism. Please recall that Shanahan, a former Ranger, came under fire New York's series against Ottawa for his questionable disciplinary rulings. What's never in doubt: The man's sense of humor.
8. Marian Hossa, Post Raffi-Torres Hit
Speaking of Shanahan, he suspended Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes for a whopping 25 games (playoff or otherwise, since reduced) for his hit on Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs. Hossa missed the rest of the series and was only cleared to play recently — after which he was promptly locked out by the team.
7. Peter DeBoer And Friends
This would have ranked higher but it's a screen grab rather than a proper photograph. But there was simply no way we weren't acknowledging adult film star Taylor Stevens' ample contribution to Stanley Cup Playoff lore. Stevens is from Toronto, is a huge (seriously, huuuuuge) hockey fan and attended the Final to support (seriously, lots of support) the Los Angeles Kings. DeBoer managed to remain focused during her appearances behind the bench, despite it looking like he was about to be assaulted by two bald dwarves.
6. Zdeno Chara Pays Tribute to Pavol Demitra
During the IIHF World Championships, Team Slovakia paid tribute to Pavol Demitra, who lost his life in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl airplane crash in Sept. 2011. Some players wore his No. 38 on their equipment and others sported T-shirts with his picture on them under their jerseys. But Zdeno Chara had the most stirring tribute: Wearing Demitra's national team jersey to accept the "best defenseman" and "player of the game" awards after his team lost in the final.
5. Adam Henrique and Joel Ward Win It (tie)
OK, so maybe it ends up being the Top 11 most memorable images. Did you really expect us to choose between Joel Ward's incredible, emotional celebration after the Washington Capitals eliminated the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in a Game 7 overtime (that, alas, led to some ugliness from hockey fans on social media) …
… and this moment of catharsis for New Jersey Devils fans, as Adam Henrique scored in OT of Game 6 — 18 years to the day of the Mark Messier Guarantee Game — to send his team to the Cup Final and the New York Rangers home? For Henrique, it was his second series-clinching goal of the postseason.
4. Taylor Hall's Gruesome Frankenstein Scar
It's said that chicks dig scars; Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers put that theory to the test with this horrific gash, as he was sliced on the head by the skate of teammate Corey Potter on Tuesday night in Columbus, during a mishap in warm-ups. TSN reported that Hall required 30 stitches from an on-site plastic surgeon. A close second: Craig Peacock's, er, mustache (NSFW).
3. Jonathan Quick Celebrates The Kings' Cup
There are more than a few celebratory shots of the Los Angeles Kings goalie at the end of Game 6; but this one, featuring defenseman Drew Doughty, perfectly captures that moment of euphoria as the Kings won their first Cup on home ice. Also, Doughty is dangerously close to spirit fingers …
2. The Podium
Nothing else captures the frustrating, embarrassing tedium of the NHL lockout more perfectly than this image of a podium being taken apart. Why? Because it was representative of the intense interest in seeing a deal get done during meetings between the NHLPA and the NHL, and the inaction from those meetings. It was representative of the absurd apathy from fans, as @NHLPodium became a Twitter parody with 15,000 followers. It's the place where Gary Bettman and Bill Daly go to share bad news, or a lack of news.
We hate the podium. The podium stinks.
But we love this …
1. Danny Briere Vs. Henrik Lundqvist at the Winter Classic
… because this is everything we want out of the NHL. Spectacle. Drama. Tension. High stakes. Two outstanding players battling with 19.6 seconds left in the game, with the shooter's team down a goal. Controversy, as Coach John Tortorella wondered if it was a 'made for TV' penalty call to give Danny Briere a penalty shot. A moment we can tell our kids we had the opportunity to witness.
Damn'em all for taking that from us at the end of 2012.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Thomas helps a child smile; Sidney Crosby fights Claude Giroux; Zach Parise and Ryan Suter get their Wild sweaters; Ilya Bryzgalov's thermos; Patrick Kane's Superman act at the All-Star Game; Brett Hull's pumpkin-trolling of Sabres fans; Karl Alzner's dogs; David Booth's dead animals; Webbering; Landeskogging.