Monday, December 20, 2004

Top Ten hockey stories of 2004

Since it's time for end of the year lists, About's Jamie Fitzpatrick gives a nice run through of the top hockey stories of the year. I can offer minor quibbles to this list — shouldn't the Calgary Flames improbable run be one of the biggest stories? — but considering that Team USA winning its first-ever World Junior Championship is all the way down at #9, you can tell it was a year jam-packed with highlites (or lowlites in a few cases). Personally, it was a year in hockey I'll never forget, as I was at The Hockey News through the playoffs when many of these big stories broke. Seeing Mike Brophy go to work on the Mike Danton case was a great learning experience.


At 8:03 p.m., December 20, 2004, Blogger John F. said...

Well, didn't #3 cover this in part?

Most of these stories don't go into detail with things -- they were short and aloof. The entire playoffs resulted in a lot of improbables -- you mentioned Calgary, but Tampa Bay was just as improbable to get as far as they did when you think of WHO the team was and WHERE they were from... but that's me bendign to the traditionalist stereotype that hockey doesn't belong in the south and the Lightning will always be a joke like they had been for so many years.

At 8:27 p.m., December 20, 2004, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Well, I for one had been trumpeting how good the Lightning were all year, so improbable wouldn't be a word I would use. And a team from Texas has won the Cup already, so the southern argument isn't as compelling.

There was a lot more to the Flames story than simply a new generation of players competing for the Cup. How about how the city of Calgary went absolutely crazy? The first Canadian team in the finals since 1994? The Red Mile? Jarome Iginla's first foray into postseason play as proof of his status as the game's best player? Aren't these bigger stories than the goofy summit Shanahan held?

At 10:18 p.m., December 20, 2004, Blogger John F. said...

Very good point about the goof summit.

I think, because of the timing, that's the only reason Mike's story even got mentioned. Heck, though the lockout is wiping out the 2004-05 season, it really doesn't alllow the stories of 2003-04 (or the 2004 side fo the 03-04 season) to get mentioned. Messier retiring is noteworthy but not as noteworthy as how he got a slap ont he wrist at the end of the season for an infraction that ranked up there with Todd Bertuzzi attacking Steve Moore (my opinion alone on this)...

You're completely correct that Calgary in general does indeed deserve to get mention for how crazy the city went for the Flames this year and for what the team accomplished.... I didn't call the playoffs the "Pass the Friggin' Torch Tour" simply because new teams were involved...

In the end, most year-end reviews tend to miss aspects that everyone remembers for different qualities. It's not surprising that this one missed stuff too, while vaulting non-events (Shan's roundtable happening) to top-ten status.


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