TCL Top Ten 2010 Stanley Cup Moments

The 2009-10 season in the NHL was a memorable one for fans, playoffs, and the league itself. An outstanding playoffs brought us upsets, Cinderella runs, record-breaking games and series, and moments that will forever live on in history, and in infamy in the minds of many fans.

We all have our favourite moments, our favourite games and stories that will be passed on throughout the years, but what were the top 10 moments of these past playoffs? What were the best games, the best stories to come out of the league over the last couple of months?

With the Stanley Cup Finals finally over, and with a couple of weeks gone by for all of us to decompress and look back at what was an outstanding playoffs for the NHL and its fans, and with some time left until we look ahead to the 2010 NHL draft as well as Free Agency day, we now take the time to look back at TCL’s Top Ten moments of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs!

10. Eric Belanger loses 8 teeth; doesn’t miss a shift.

There are many stories of tough players coming back from injuries that maybe should have kept them on the sidelines a little longer, and this post-season was no exception in the NHL. Glen Metropolit returned from a shoulder injury that most thought would end his season. Hal Gill received 52 stitches to the back of his leg and only missed a game. Travis Moen was playing with about the same number of stitches in his face. Ian Laperierre returning from a mysterious ‘’brain injury’’, and frankly, the elasticity of most of Philly’s line-up.

But the tale that struck me the most was what happened in game 5 of the first round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. Eric Belanger had taken an accidental high-stick to the face from Marc-André Bergeron. Belanger said he “felt my teeth shatter, right away,” making his way to the locker room area for emergency dental work, including something that sounds incredibly painful called “root trimming.”

Belanger returned to the ice in the middle of the third period, and didn’t miss a beat. Now THAT’S tough.

9. ‘’Throw the Snake!’’ Coyotes return to playoffs despite franchise turmoil.

When the 2009-10 season started, the Phoenix Coyotes weren’t even sure if they would still be the Phoenix Coyotes by the end of the season. And having missed the playoffs for nearly an entire consecutive decade, no one was really expecting the former Winnipeg Jets to have much of an impact on the league ON the ice, not nearly as much as they did OFF the ice.

Nevertheless, the players and team took it one game at a time and managed to come out winners, securing themselves both a playoff spot and, incredibly, home ice advantage against the Detroit Red Wings. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Coyotes this year, as they lost to the Red Wings, but they pushed them to the limit, bringing the series to 7 games and inspiring their fanbase.

8. Matt Carkner scores triple overtime goal to force game 6 vs. Penguins

On the verge of elimination, losing was not an option for the Ottawa Senators in game 5 of the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Needless to say, the Sens, clearly outmatched by the defending Stanley Cup Champs, played the game of their life. It would take 3 overtimes and arguably the most exciting game of the first round, but Senators managed to stave off elimination when defenseman Matt Carkner blasted a point shot past Marc-André Fleury to win the game for the Sens 4-3 just before the stroke of midnight. A fitting end to a hard fought game, even if the Sens would go on to be eliminated the next game.

7. Too Many Men on the ice!

Like every season, penalties and officiating were the talk of the playoffs in 2010. But this year, the players and referees put a bit of a spin on the matter. For once, the officiating was actually not-so-bad, despite the usual gripes from fans and media members alike. For once, the talk of the league was the ridiculous amount of too many men on the ice bench minors called in the first two round of the playoffs.

Through 49 games in the first round, 21 bench minors were handed out to teams. In the second round, it actually got worse, with 12 minors being called in 24 games. That’s a penalty every two games in the second round, and a total of 33 TMMs in the first two rounds. The matter actually had a tough effect on some teams, with both the Penguins and Bruins being eliminated because of a goal scored on an ensuing TMM powerplay. (more on the Bruins at spot #2, hint hint).

6. Patrick Kane ties game 5 vs. Preds shorthanded

In another penalty-inspired entry, we look at Patrick Kane’s 1st appearance on our list. With the series tied 2-2, and with the game tilted 4-3 in the Nashville Predators’ favour, the Chicago Blackhawks were in a dire situation. The series was seemingly at a turning point and going back to Chicago facing elimination would be nerve wracking to say the least.

To make matters worse, with only a minute left in the game, Marian Hossa took a major boarding penalty, of all things, putting him in the box for the rest of regulation. Things looked grim for the Blackhawks, but seemingly out of nowhere, Patrick Kane tied the game with only 13 seconds left and sent the teams to overtime. The Blackhawks killed off the rest of the penalty, and Marian Hossa, of all people, would go on to score the Game Winning Goal on his way out of the box.

The rest, as they say, is history.

5. Dan Boyle scores in his own net

In case you didn’t know, the San Jose Sharks have somewhat of a reputation as choke artists. Dan Boyle would not do anything to help restore this reputation in the first round. Despite embarrassingly outplaying the Colorado Avalanche in game 3 for the entirety of regulation, the Sharks could not bury a puck past Craig Anderson through 60 minutes of play. Anderson would make 51 saves and take his team to overtime. Not a single moment had passed in the first OT frame when Dan Boyle backhanded the puck towards the boards behind his goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov. Unfortunately, Boyle undershot the puck and it landed – you guessed it – in the back of his own net. The incident was both hilarious and embarrassing for the Sharks. They would make up for it, winning the next three games decisively to take the series, and even making it to the Western Conference Finals over the Detroit Red Wings in the next round.

Nevertheless, that one particular moment will live on in infamy for the Sharks and for Dan Boyle, as one of the funniest own-goals in the history of the league.

4. Chris Pronger’s Puckgate.

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard of the Chris Pronger puck-stealing controversy. And the whole thing certainly has had its fair share of names over the weeks: Chris Pronger’s Puckgate, as mentioned above, Chris Pronger the Puck Burglar, the Puck Pickpocket, you name a funny spin on it and the media has likely found a name for it. Really, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just Pronger being Pronger, making an ass out of himself and trying to take attention away from his deficiencies on the ice, the rare times that we might see them, and boy, did we ever see them in the finals against the Hawks!

All that being said, real news story or not, Pronger’s Puck Swiping fiasco led to many hilarious quotes and interviews, and is likely to stay in the memory of many fans when looking back at the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

3. Jaroslav Halak makes 53 saves to force game 7 vs. Capitals

There were many Canadiens moments that could have gone on this list, from the shot blocking machines that Hal Gill and Josh Gorges turned into, to Mike Cammalleri’s league-leading 13 goals, to the very fact that the Canadiens made the Conference Finals for the first time in nearly two decades. But one game, one performance, one playoff-changing moment will live in the minds of Habs fans everywhere, at least for those who were lucky enough to watch Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Canadiens were beaten down and battered in a tough series against the Washington Capitals, a series that no one ever gave them a chance of winning. After having taken game 1 in Washington, the Canadiens would go on to lose the next 3, putting them at a 3-1 deficit and in front of a huge mountain to climb. They would win game 5 by the skin of their tails and take it back to Montreal for game 6, again, facing elimination.

All signs were pointing to a Montreal defeat on that night. The Capitals were firing at all cylinders and despite going up 3-0 in the game, it looked like the Canadiens were starting to break down. But one man, one goaltender, one person who obviously wasn’t human on this night, would play the game of his life to save the Canadiens, forcing a seventh game and taking the series back to Washington. That man, was Jaroslav Halak, making 53 saves and putting on a performance that will forever be remembered as part of Stanley Cup History.

Of course, Halak will no longer be a Montreal Canadien, but you can relive some of the magic at this link.

2. Flyers come back from 0-3 deficit in game 3 vs. Bruins, after coming back from 0-3 series deficit.

Another moment that will live on in infamy as long as there are NHL fans from this generation to remember it is the second round series against the Flyers and Bruins. The Bruins, a 6th seed, coming off a win against the Sabres, were regarded as the favorites in the series, even though the Flyers had handily defeated the New Jersey Devils. They would live up to that potential in the first three games, going 3-0 and bringing the Flyers to the brink of eliminations.

But the Flyers were not done, and did not let the 3-0 deficit bring them down. They would win the next three games, forcing a game 7 in Boston. Early on, they would fall 3-0 in the final game against the Bruins, and all hope was seemingly lost.

Then, as if some sort of ghost from the Boston’s past was coming back to haunt them, the Bruins would take, you guessed it, a too many men on the ice penalty, shades of the 1979 semi-fan series between the Bruins and Canadiens, a moment that fans remember to this very day. The Flyers would go on to score 3 goals, coming back from an unprecedented 0-3 deficit in game 7, after coming back from a 0-3 series deficit in the days before, a comeback that will not only live on in hockey history, but in sports history as a whole.

1. Patrick Kane ends 49-year Stanley Cup Drought for Blackhawks.

No matter how many incredible moments these playoffs brought us, you simply can’t take anything away from what the Stanley Cup champions accomplish, and that’s the goal of any team heading into the playoffs. No matter how many records were broken, how many bones were shattered or how many underdogs beat teams they might not have even had any business playing against, the fact of the matter is that they failed in their goal, to win the Stanley Cup.

When the smoke cleared, when the dust had settled and when all 89 games of these 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs were finished and in the books, one team would remain standing. And surprisingly, despite all the upset and all the Cinderella stories, the team that eventually won the most coveted prize in all of hockey was the team that most had predicted would be standing with Lord Stanley’s mug high above their heads: The Chicago Blackhawks.

And while most would like to forget Patrick Kane’s OT winner, maybe one of the ugliest Cup winning goals on record, you simply can’t take anything away from what he and the Chicago Blackhawks accomplished, and that’s bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago, after 49 VERY long years.

So, there you have it. TCL’s top 10 moments from these playoffs. There
were certainly many memorable ones within the top ten, many more that did not fit in the list. That being said, we leave you with some honorable mentioned, and a chance to provide us with your own top 10 moments from these playoffs past:

Honorable Mentions:

- Marc Savard returns to score OT winner.
- Mike Richards’ shorthanded goal vs. Montreal.
- Ville Leino breakout player of the playoffs, 21 points in 19 games.
- Franzen scores natural hat trick on his way to 4 goal, 6 point game in 7-1 rout of sharks.
- Philly pull goaltenders out of its ass in order to make finals.

What were your top 10 moments?