furious NHL officials insisted that the next
Classic include a team that never makes any.
A new year has arrived, which means that it's time to take one last look back at the one that just passed.
Unfortunately for hockey fans, most of the action in 2012 took place over the first few months thanks to a lockout that made meaningful news hard to come by later in the year. Then again, after 12 months marked by disputes over long-term contracts, maybe it's only fitting that an NHL Year in Review column would end up being heavily front-loaded.
January 2 - The Winter Classic ends with a dramatic game-ending penalty shot save by Henrik Lundqvist that experts describe as a Hollywood-style ending, if Hollywood movie stars were better looking.
January 23 - Tim Thomas attempts to send a political message by refusing to join his teammates in a meeting with President Barack Obama, making him the year's second most famous Massachusetts-based conservative to fail to get anywhere near the White House.
January 26 - The NHL all-star draft wraps up much quicker than usual when team captain Zdeno Chara uses the first overall pick to choose "Every single one of you, does anyone have a problem with that?"
February 6 - That Toronto Maple Leaf fan at your office comes in to work smiling for the last time all year.
April 7 - Steven Stamkos records his 60th goal of the season, a milestone he'll be unable to reach again next year since the season will be about 40 games long so he'll probably max out at like 58, tops.
June 5 - Michel Therrien is introduced as the new coach of the Montreal Canadiens at a Bell Centre press conference. He later tells reporters that while he's impressed by the statues of Canadiens legends like Rocket Richard and Guy Lafleur in the Centennial Plaza, he's less excited about the oddly realistic Patrick Roy statue that seems to be waiting for him in the parking garage.
June 11 - Members of the Los Angeles Kings are presented with the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup, in the year's last known instance of Gary Bettman being willing to give something to NHL players.
June 22 - While writing each other's vows always makes for a more romantic wedding day, new groom Jordan Staal starts to get the sinking feeling that it may have been a bad idea to have his wife promise to "always love and honor the Penguins' third-line center".
July 4 - After several days of negotiations, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter seal their new free agency deals with the Minnesota Wild with a firm handshake with owner Craig Leipold, then immediately begin to wonder why their watches are missing.
July 24 - The Nashville Predators announce that they've matched the Flyers' heavily front-loaded $110 million offer sheet to captain Shea Weber. In unrelated news, the club also announces a brand new game day promotion they call "19 randomly selected fans get to be in the lineup with Shea Weber".
September 15 - Bettman officially locks out NHL players, then leans over to ask Bily Daly why all the owners are throwing hats at him.
December 31 - After becoming distracted during a late-night New York strategy session by the loud shouts of "10! 9! 8!...", Bettman angrily asks the league's marketing department to take a break from updating him on how many sports fans still care about this league.