There were some epic collapses in the hockey world during the 2013-14 season. We take a look back at the top five, from Phil Kessel to the San Jose Sharks.
When someone or some team melts down in sport, the ensuing range of emotions varies. Depending on the offence and where your allegiances lie, you may be utterly crushed, or elated. You may find a great deal of comedy in the action, or you may be offended. Either way, these moments become memorable talking points long after they’re seen live. What were the biggest meltdowns from the 2013-14 hockey season? Here is our top five.
5. Phil Kessel chopping down John Scott It didn’t take long for the NHL to start handing out suspensions and fines this past season. In fact, supplemental discipline began even before the regular season started. Meltdown No. 5 belongs to Toronto sniper Phil Kessel, who absolutely went off his rocker when John Scott was placed next to him for a faceoff. Kessel found himself in an uncomfortable situation and gave Scott a good baseball bat slash to the ankle, and not just once. After Scott was tackled inside a scrum, Kessel doubled back and whacked Scott with his stick a second time. Kessel was suspended three games and Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined for “player selection and team conduct.” If that was the case, perhaps Sharks GM Doug Wilson should be fined for selecting Scott to play on his team next season.
4. Patrick Roy attacks the glass In his very first game behind an NHL bench, Patrick Roy reminded us all about his famous temper and that it didn’t leave him when he retired. Roy was not happy with the Ducks and specifically Ben Lovejoy, who hit rookie Nathan MacKinnon with a knee-on-knee check in the dying seconds. And though Colorado won this game 6-1, you’d never know it by just watching Roy’s reaction at the end of it.
Poor, poor camera guy. In the end, it was a happy season for the Avs. Roy won the Jack Adams, MacKinnon won the Calder, Ryan O’Reilly won the Byng and Semyon Varlamov was a Vezina finalist as the Avs beat out St. Louis and Chicago for the regular season Central Division title. Just disregard the playoffs.
3. American Olympic Women’s Team in the gold medal game They had a 2-0 lead with less than five minutes to go. They had a 2-1 lead with less than a minute to go. But the Americans couldn’t dethrone the Canadians for the Olympic gold. Canada, who has won each women’s Olympic hockey gold since 2002 (the US won the first event in 1998), was rescued by the heroics of Marie-Philip Poulin, who scored both the tying and winning goals. What a heartbreaker for the Americans – and what a heartbreaker for the Kessel family, who experienced Phil’s Leafs blowing up against Boston in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Amanda’s Americans falling short in Sochi.
2. Vancouver Canucks, from goalies to John Tortorella Three years ago, the Vancouver Canucks were one win away from taking the Stanley Cup. Remember that? Because it seems like it was much, much further back than three years. The Canucks fired coach Alain Vigneault after 2012-13 and replaced him with John Tortorella, who pretty much everyone outside of the organization figured was going to be a disaster. The way his volatile tenure in New York ended, all the evidence was screaming that Torts could have used a year or two away from the NHL. Instead, disaster of a GM Mike Gillis brought the task master on board. Lo and behold, all the prognostications were true. Tortorella’s Canucks hit rock bottom in every way, from the Sedins failing to score more than 50 points, to Gillis trading off Roberto Luongo, thus leaving the organization without a No. 1 goalie, to this epic episode when Tortorella headed to Calgary’s dressing room to try and get a piece of Flames coach Bob Hartley. Brian McGratton said no. The Canucks missed the playoffs and Tortorella and Gillis have since lost their jobs.
1. San Jose Sharks, nuff said If you picked this year’s Sharks to win the Stanley Cup, it was probably the last time you’ll ever have them advancing beyond the first round. Because the way they were knocked out by the Kings left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of people. San Jose led the series 3-0. They had the powerhouse Kings on the ropes and looked like the contender they were purported to be. They weren’t just beating the Kings, they were dominating them. In their three wins, the Sharks outscored the Kings 17-8. San Jose didn’t just have wiggle room to close out the series, they had enough space to stretch out and roll around. But then the Kings woke up. In the last four games, Los Angeles outscored San Jose 18-5 to completely turn the tables. The Sharks, already with a reputation as a choke-artist franchise, sunk to a new low even for them. After the New York Rangers lost in the Stanley Cup final to the Kings, Toronto forward James van Riemsdyk sent out a tweet that was replied to by Sad Panda Logan Couture, who was still feeling the effects of his team’s loss almost two months later.
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