December 28, 2009
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 ...
Story of the Year: Puck Daddy chats with the man behind 'Brian Burke' on Twitter
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.
After that scrutiny, Sean decided to kill the "Brian Burke" Twitter parody in late March, writing that "part of being a good comedian is to know when to get off the stage."
Like all great comedy, someone was bound to miss the punch-line.
Crime Story of the Year: Kane arrested after allegedly assaulting, robbing cab driver
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.
"But he didn't win the Stanley Cup!"
Yeah, we know. It ain't "NHL man of the year." But in 2009, Ovechkin was the single most written-about player (as you good readers often remind us) for his exploits on the ice and off.
He participated in a classic playoff series vs. Sidney Crosby(notes), set off debates with his pre-planned "fire stick" celebration and scored another epic highlight reel goal that some considered the best of his career. He drove a Zamboni through Manhattan and was given superstar treatment by ESPN. LeBron called him "prime time." Malkin called him a friend again after their peace accord at the All-Star Game, where they engaged in prop comedy together. He got a back tattoo, partied with Alex Semin in Russia and admitted that sex before and after games helps him focus.
So yeah, it's been a somewhat interesting year.
Honorable Mention: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, because Marc Savard is afraid of him; Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins, because he admits Flyers fans scare him a little; Marian Hossa(notes), Chicago Blackhawks, for finally meeting Stanley; Jim Balsillie, rich dude, for finally building revolutionary support of a seventh Canadian team and giving us a summer soap opera; Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs, for Phil Kessel(notes) and truculence.
Video of the Year: When Swedish goal celebrations go wrong
Henrik Andersen's leap through the glass, with Bobby McFerrin accompaniment, was an instant classic.
Fight Video of the Year: The story behind Mudbugs vs. IceRays brawl, tonight's rematch
Everything you need to know about this brawl is located in the story linked above. By far, one of our favorite videos that we've ever run on Puck Daddy. Once more, with feeling: "That'll teach ya to run Ken Carroll! That'll teach ya!"
Original Video Production of the Year: Video: Puck Daddy witnesses octopus abuse in Pittsburgh
During the 2009 Stanley Cup finals, Benkovitz Seafoods in the Strip District of Pittsburgh announced it was going to have a "Trash The Octopus" party before Game 3. They promised octopus whacked like a piñata, which got us down there. Alas, this did not happen. But we did witness octopi shot into nets like hockey pucks and grilled by trash-talking Pittsburgh Penguins fans.
Announcer of the Year: Jack Edwards, NESN
From the maniacal laughter directed at Flyers fans to his over-the-top comparison between the Bruins defeating the Canadiens to the Revolutionary War, it was an exceptionally crazy year for our favorite boxing announcer.
Honorable Mention: NBC/CBC's Mike Milbury, for "pussification," calling Tim Connolly a "dink" and getting Sidney Crosby on the record that he never bear his dog; Fox Sports Net Ohio's Jim Day for losing his gig for not being a cheerleader; Randy Moller for the pop culture reference experiment on Florida Panthers broadcasts; Daryl Reaugh for being pretty darn outstanding; Don Cherry for calling out Ovechkin and continuing to be Grapes.
Media Bird-Doggin' of the Year: Vancouver paper asks for Cup parade route; hockey gods tremble
The Vancouver Province plans the parade route for the Canucks, and Leahy burns'em for it.
Honest-To-Goodness Reporting and Analysis of the Year: How 4-year-old boy mastered 'Miracle' speech in YouTube hit
In which we learned how young Josh Sacco did a note-for-note Herb Brooks impression, right down to the "screw'em!"
The Best in Guest Blogging: From the Friendly Confines, it's Puck Daddy's Winter Classic
Big League Stew's Kevin Kaduk offers a terrific first-person tale of attending the Winter Classic at Wrigley.
Fan Stories of the Year: Collateral Damage: The frustrations, hopes of Phoenix Coyotes fans
Collecting the thoughts and feelings from Coyotes fans as their team faced relocation and an uncertain future. You could feel the angst mixed with the hope, despite reality.
Dmitry's brilliant interview with the Detroit Red Wings star covered everything from dream linemates to his embarrassing cell phone ringtone. A must-read.
Art of the Year: Gloating Bruins Fan Gallery
His demonic, towel-twirling face was captured during Game 5 of the Bruins' playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Somehow, he became an Internet sensation and the basis of an impromptu Photoshop contest that had him everywhere from KISS to "Cheers" to NBC to the Salem Witch Trials.
The Year in Lists: End Of Decade countdowns.
The Year in High Fashion: Solving the mystery of the Florida Panthers gown
Kerry D. had to miss a Florida Panthers game due to her law school dance, and so she rocked the Panthers dress above to support the team. Many a Puck Buddy swooned upon discovering this story ... and Kerry.
Jersey Fouls of 2009
Finally, here are the Top 8 Jersey Fouls for the last year, understanding completely that your favorite is no doubt not included.
2. The "Cutie Pie" New York Rangers sweater.
3. The unfortunately named Mrs. Semin from the Mecca of Jersey Fouls, D.C.
4. Uh, yeah.
5. An atrocity from the St. Louis Blues.
6. The Audience Prize winner from the New Jersey Devils.
7. An inventive way of telling Wings fans their team sucks "infinity."
8. The greatest Russian player of all-time, name-wise.
Thanks to everyone who reads, supports and wastes time with Puck Daddy. Thanks to Leahy, Dmitry, Lambert, Dobber, Ross, Romig, Scott and everyone else that makes this baby hum. It's been a great 2009, and we'll keep working hard to make it a decent-at-best 2010.