Puck Daddy started publishing on Yahoo! Sports in April, at the cusp of a very entertaining Stanley Cup playoffs that provided enough controversy, frivolity and drama to fill an entire season. Little did we know the rest of the year would provide so much more, and with much greater quantities of absurdity. It certainly helps when you hold a Gary Bettman reader art contest.
Here's a (sloppy) second look at 2008, featuring the work of Wyshynski, Leahy, McKeon, Romig, Chesnokov and a slew of others. Thanks to everyone who made it fun.
Story of the Year: "It's Puck Daddy's fault some dude wants to sue Detroit over dead octopus tossing." Patrick Greene of San Antonio never cared about hockey in his sad, sad life before reading our coverage of the NHL's war on octopus twirling at Detroit Red Wings home games; which motivated him to attempt to sue the NHL, the Wings and the City of Detroit for "abuse" of dead octopi tossed on the ice, based on the 1982 Michigan Bodies of Dead Animals Act. A judge quickly tossed the case, claiming it was "on its face, totally implausible, frivolous and devoid of merit." Really?
Honorable Mention: "What if 30 seconds of cats meowing and babies crying wins the Hockey Night in Canada song contest?" ... The desecration of the Rocky statue in Philadelphia by Penguins and Canadiens fans ... Sean Avery said something about something or other ... The Anaheim Ducks' AHL affiliate is named after meat ... Kris Draper's kid uses the Stanley Cup as a potty ... Oops, you got your vice presidential politics in my hockey!
Video of the Year: "Def Leppard's adventure with the Stanley Cup." Because they thought it was 1987, the NHL invited Def Leppard to play an Opening Night concert in Detroit. Lead singer Joe Elliott redefined embarrassment when he was handed the Stanley Cup on stage and proceeded to place the Holy Grail upside-down on a pedestal. Not as cringe-inducing as "Let's Get Rocked" ... but close.
Honorable Mention: "Video evidence of Slovakia's 82-0 victory over Bulgaria" ... "The unofficial Henrik Zetterberg hip-hop slow jam tribute" (a.k.a. "Snipe, Snipe) ... The NHL finally figures out what makes for a good commercial ... Milan Lucic makes it rain glass ... Massive college hockey brawl, including the goalies ...
Satire and Snark of the Year: Our "honoring" Chris Pronger contest. The winner: "Chris Pronger: A player whose high level of performance helps you forget how big a dillweed he can be. -- by Brad Lee."
Honorable Mention: "Casting the ‘Sean Avery: Adventures of a Vogue Intern' movie" ... "Pittsburgh Penguins: The Stanley Cup Musical" ... Our glorious collection of NHL political propaganda.
Media Bird-Doggin' of the Year: "Why your newspaper doesn't cover the NHL." With shrinking sections and dwindling manpower, the only way it could have been worse for U.S. newspapers this year is if they made cars or co-starred in Christian Slater television action/comedies. Sigh; if only their editors didn't loathe hockey so much.
Honorable Mention: Replacing Barry Melrose at ESPN. Before, you know, he sort of replaced himself ... Hockey Night in Canada reporter and writer Elliotte Friedman's fantastic dissenting opinion on the Edmonton Oilers v. blogger controversy.
Honest-To-Goodness Reporting and Analysis of the Year: "Puck Daddy chats with Mike Commodore about that photo." When a photo of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Mike Commodore wearing nothing but black boxer briefs and covering himself in $100 bills hit the Web, we interviewed the sexy beast about how and why the hell it happened.
Honorable Mention: After Ted Leonsis took on Ross McKeon over the idea of Washington Capitals "contraction," we tackled all angles of the controversy ... Inside the Caps' glam rock music video shoot ... The NHL explains how it hunted down fake all-star votes from Montreal Canadiens fans ... How the Winter Classic was marketed ... The NHL challenges the NBA for arena popularity supremacy.
The Best in Guest Blogging: "Matt Bradley, Washington Capitals: 5 ways I'd change the NHL." No. 5 on Bradley's list: "I automatically get to play on Alex Ovechkin's line every game."
Honorable Mention: All of those who participated in the "5 Ways I'd Change the NHL" special series ... Some of our more scathing playoff eulogies, like JP on the Flyers and PPP on the Habs ... Kat Carroll reveals why it's OK to root for both rival teams.
The Year in Lists: "Honoring hockey's greatest commercial pitchmen." There was a time in our lives before we saw Lanny MacDonald in a garish sweater selling Apollo Mufflers. We just don't remember it.
Honorable Mention: "The Art of the Stanley Cup Playoff Beard" ... A ruthless critique of Alyssa Milano's NHL fashions for women ... The NHL's new third jerseys caused a stir, like those for the Hurricanes and Thrashers ... Detroit man dresses in Lions gear, touches Stanley Cup and chants "Crosby" to jinx Penguins.
Interviews of the Year: Alexander Semin disses Sidney Crosby. What hasn't already been said about Dmitry Chesnokov's landmark interview with Semin? Other than that we really, really hope he plays against the Penguins the next time they face Washington.
Honorable Mention: Talking hockey and movies with Red Bank's own Kevin Smith ... "Love Guru" star Romany Malco thinks the NHL is filled with "Brad Pitts" that the NHL should market to the ladies ... Rick Nash talks video games, Columbus Blue Jackets and Harold and Kumar ... Brett Leonhardt's 10 minutes of NHL goalie fame ... Florida Panthers' forward David Booth would like to kill a bear ... Dave "The Hammer" Schultz broke down old fight clips on YouTube for us.
Art of the Year: Commissioner Gary Bettman and his 231 portraits in heroism. Our epic reader contest that re-imagined the Commish as everything from Aquaman to Moses (above) to Lara Croft.
Honorable Mention: Finally, as long as we're talking works of art: Paulina Gretzky. Being the all-time leading NHL scorer and the man responsible for a golf-playing, mini-Jenna Jameson? Quite the life, Gretz. Quite the life: