The 2011-2012 NHL season has made it 7/9ths of the way up Mt. Stanley and as you can see from the beautiful hand-made bracket above, only the strong (and the Panthers) have survived. The playoffs are just around the Tuesday and I, for one, am fucking PUMPED! But before my mouth starts salivating like Manny Legace’s for hamburgers, I want to take a moment to reflect on the season that was.
Just like every other NHL season, this one had its ups and downs. The Minnesota Wild were at the top of the league in December boy oh boy did they ever take a tumble. According to Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy,
“the Wild won seven of their final 52 games in regulation. Fewer regulation wins than Columbus. That’s a team that was never making the playoffs, right there.”
Yikes! Can’t say I wasn’t happy when they were doing well, but we all knew that wasn’t gonna last.
Remember when Ryan “The Nuge” Nugent-Hopkins scored his first career NHL goal in his first career NHL game?:
Nikolai Khabibulin at had a save percentage of .964 and a GAA of 0.97 after 10 games, pretty good for an old fart! Things were looking good for the Oilers in the beginning, but the Bulin Wall and the Oilers didn’t fair quite as well for the remaining 72 games.
It would come to be known as “The Year of the Shanaban”. With the face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby, out indefinitely, hits to the head would no longer be tolerated, lest ye be trounced with the full force of the Shanahammer. People who follow the game would learn Brendan Shanahan was tough, but fair (mostly).
This year was especially meaningful for me. After being abducted early in the 2008 season, I came to in Philadelphia and met up with my old friends the Hockey Doggz to talk about, ya know, hockey. I wasn’t exactly sure how into the game I could get with such a prolonged absence but I gave it a shot. I thought to myself, “I don’t know anyone who plays for the Stars or the Avalanche” so I decided to watch this game:
Holy fuck, are you kidding me?! What a whacky game! Did you see that Duchene goal to get the hat trick?! Avs scored 2, then Dallas scores 4, Avs come back with 3, they go back an forth, and Dallas wins in OT?! Craziness.
Needless to say I was hooked. I decided to put down Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and direct all my attention to the game. No regrets…sorry Huskey.
Here are some of my other memorable moments from the 1,230 games of 2011-2012 in no particular order:
- Remember when realignment looked like it was going to be a thing? We sure do! But the players were all like, “Umm, nah”. We’ll have to wait until contract bargaining agreement talks start to fully realize the effect of that snub
- Lars Eller and Matt Moulson both scored 4 goals in a game and Sam Gagner had 4 goals and 4 assists in one tilt! That’s pretty spectacular
- The Crosby roller coaster was a pretty wild ride. He comes back, gets a bunch of points, gets hurt again, and now he’s back again. Jeez.
- Cam Ward got a goal right after we talked about how cool goalie goals were, although his wasn’t that cool.
- The Detroit Red Wings won 23 STRAIGHT GAMES at home!
- T-bone and the Hockey Doggz went to the Winter Classic and got exclusive interviews with Mark Recchi AND Pat Sajak
- The St. Louis Blues were on top of the NHL for a long time, just to have those upstart Vancouver Canucks steal the President’s Trophy right out from under ’em
- Henrick Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Brian Elliot, and Jaroslav Halak had themselves good seasons. Not to mention Mike Smith getting the most saves (54) in a shutout EVER
- Remember that All-Star Game? Yeah, me either
- The evolution of Matt Cooke is a pretty good one
- This was a big story:
This season has been blessed by the Hockey Gods for some and marred with disaster and broken dreams for other. Soon we will move on and, oh lord, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be awesome, hallelujah amen! I can’t wait to watch all of the series’s’es unfold. Who knows who’s gonna win?! In a month and a half we could be looking down the barrel of a full-loaded Coyotes/Panthers Stanley Cup shotgun (the lowest scoring, tightest checking shotgun ever). Whatever the case, the way we got there will have been special, because it never happened before and will never happen again. Or…?
What were your favorite moments of 2011-2012? Let us know! Email us here and follow us on twitter @TboneHockeyDogz . We’ll hopefully be getting another podcast up before the playoffs and maybe even get on to iTunes, once we pull our heads out of our asses.
Big ups to A. Rat for not giving me too much shit!