(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
Social media has provided a platform for fellow puck heads to get together to laugh, cry and hurl at their favorite moments from their favorite sport.
Now we look back at the players and team-centric social media happenings that made the biggest impact in 2016.
(Fans will get a separate countdown later in the month. We haven’t forgotten about you Tony X. or those that made John Scott, All-Star happen!)
And away we goooo…
10. Kevin Bieksa as ‘Shovelboy’
During the preseason, the Anaheim Ducks will embed their players throughout Honda Center to engage with the fans. They took it to a different level in 2015 when Ryan Kesler went undercover as a fan during a game.
It was only natural that Kesler’s BFF, Kevin Bieksa, was the next Duck to dress up for a preseason contest.
Through the magic of hair and makeup, Bieksa became ‘Shovelboy.’ He joined the crew that shoveles the ice during TV timeouts and proceeded to annoy is unwitting teammates during and after the game.
9. P.K. Subban embraces Nashville
Subban’s trade to Nashville was a seismic event and to the defenseman’s credit, he embraced it (after the shock wore off).
His first day in the city he went on a whirlwind tour captured by the Preds.
Subban’s penultimate “I’m not in Montreal anymore” moment came at the legendary Nashville bar, Tootsies. He took to the stage and sang Johnny Cash, as one does in the country music hot spot.
— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) July 17, 2016
8. #CanadiensMTL1M auto-Tweets go horribly wrong
To celebrate reaching one million followers on Twitter, the Montreal Canadiens created a special Twitter promotion under the hashtag “#CanadiensMTL1M.”
Here’s how it worked as the Canadiens explained it to fans:
“To celebrate the occasion, the team would like to thank you! Over the course of the week, by tweeting using the hashtag – #CanadiensMTL1M – and by following the team on Twitter, you’ll receive a special message from a player. Then, if you tweet using the “surprise” word accompanied by the #CanadiensMTL1M hashtag, you’ll receive an additional tweet containing another surprise.”
That seems harmless enough, right?
Here’s the thing. The team set up their account to auto-tweet all responses. Once fans – or detractors – caught on it was all over. If you want to see some examples of the (WARNING!!!) OFFENSIVE TWEETS – head on over to our original post.
The Habs issued an apology and fixed the filter that was incorrect.
Aside from the shock at Gerard Gallant’s firing, what was the one thing that you remember the night when the news broke?
Perhaps it was the pictures from the AP of Gallant hanging out in front of PNC Arena in Raleigh after he got the news.
The Panthers were traveling to their next destination and he obviously wasn’t going with them.
He unceremoniously loaded his bags into the car with the help of Carolina Hurricanes employee and left for the airport.
Florida GM and now head coach Tom Rowe claimed he was also out there with Gallant; however, he wasn’t in any of the pictures from the AP. He also stated the Panthers called a car service for their former coach.
Later Gallant came out and said the photos were ‘blown out of proportion.’
“I know everyone has seen the photos of me getting into the cab,” Gallant said via Elliotte Friedman. “(Panthers manager of team services) Stiles Burr is a good, solid kid. What happened is getting blown out of proportion. They called a car service, but I did not want to wait.”
Still, the optics weren’t great at the time. So much so that even non-hockey outlets picked up on the photos.
6. Jo Paw-velski
Going into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the general consensus was that the San Jose Sharks were cursed. They’re the Sharks. It wasn’t exactly a stretch.
Having exorcised the demons of the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, everyone was waiting for the Sharks to Shork. It seemed even more likely when the harbinger of superstitious doom emerged from the San Jose bench – a black cat.
The kitten was caught by arena staff and taken to the Humane Society of Sillicon Valley.
Originally, the Sharks called the cat ‘Joe PAWvelski’ (get it?!); however, once they got the kitty to the vet they found out he was actually a she. Thus she became ‘Jo PAWvelski.
Our own Josh Cooper dove head first into this potential cat-tasrophy, and got the answers to the public’s questions.
Once Lil’ Pawvelski got the necessary veterinary care and was nursed back to health, she went up for adoption. She ended up back with one of her Sharks teammates after all.
No, not Brent Burns. His beard might eat her.
It was Patrick Marleau who brought Jo into his home. Marleau’s wife, Christina, tweeted out a picture of Jo:
— Christina Marleau (@c_marleau) July 1, 2016
5. Dylan Larkin’s alter-ego ‘D-Boss.’
As a Millennial, Dylan Larkin should know that every can be captured on camera and easily uploaded to the internet.
It was only a matter of time before this video of a 15- or 16-year old Larkin became part of the public discourse.
Will the real ‘D-Boss’ please stand up…
As Wysh wrote when Puck Daddy originally posted on this, the video is awesome because:
– Larkin refers to himself as ‘D-Boss.’ Multiple times.
– Larkin says they’re putting on a “snip show,” rather than a “snipe show.” Perhaps he hoped to become a mohel.
– Larkin says things like, “YouTube, this is D-BOSS, coming at you live from the dungeon here. I’m about to put up a snip show. It’s about to get hot. You ready, my boy-ee E. Slayer?”
– He’s wearing socks.
– He says things like, ‘Tearing it up it all around the metro area, Detroit. Wrecking the ‘D’. Showing goalies what I got. ‘Tenders ain’t got nuttin.” (Still don’t, D-Boss.)
– And of course, that moment before they start shooting on the basement net, when they simultaneously say, “1-2-3 LET’S HAVE FUN!”
4. Ben Hutton lip-syncs ‘Barbie Girl’
At the Vancouver Canucks’ charity event ‘Dice & Ice’ the rookies undergo a little hazing from the veterans by way of public embarrassment.
Jake Virtanen, Ben Hutton, Sven Baertschi and Jared McCann each had to pander for votes by lip-syncing solo to a song of their choice. Far and away, Hutton’s rendition of ‘Barbie Girl’ was the best of the bunch. The defensemen had the crowd going nuts and the veterans near tears.
Scrub to 3:52 on the video to see Hutton’s mastery.
3. Denna Laing’s first video
Few will forget the news of Denna Laing suffering a ‘significant spinal injury’ at the Women’s Outdoor Classic.
Two weeks later, Laing took to Twitter for her first public appearance. From her hospital bed, Laing showed courage, determination and irrepressible smile as she spoke to the public.
— Denna Laing (@dlaing14) January 12, 2016
2. BONINO! BONINO! BONINO!
In the Stanley Cup Final, Hockey Night Punjabi blessed the hockey world with the best goal call of the entire playoffs.
Not much needs to be said. Just enjoy Nick Bonino’s goal brought to you by the play-by-play announcer Harnarayan Singh.
— Hockey Night Punjabi (@HkyNightPunjabi) May 31, 2016
1. All things Phil Kessel
This past year should really be the ‘Year of Phil.’ Dude got the ultimate revenge on all his detractors in Toronto by winning a Stanley Cup. He also had some incredible moments on social media.
Remember when he thought Pierre McGuire was asking about his bad breath?
Breath check? https://t.co/K3jtLPqI0U
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 19, 2016
How about when he pissed off his fellow (former?) Team USA compatriots during the World Cup by throwing shade at his behind left off the roster?
He tweeted the following after the US dropped a stinker versus Team Canada:
Just sitting around the house tonight w my dog. Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
— Phil Kessel (@PKessel81) September 21, 2016
(We will acknowledge that Phil did have surgery prior to the tournament and couldn’t play if he wanted to … but we don’t think he wanted to after all the snubs.)
The most recent addition to the Phil Kessel gallery of moments comes from an NBC game in November. Kessel expertly ignores Pierre McGuire as he desperately tries to get Phil’s attention.
Love is pain pic.twitter.com/Ty3qwg6Q6z
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 1, 2016
The laughs aren’t limited to Phil. The rest of the Kessel family gets in on the action.
Women’s hockey superstar Amanda Kessel, Phil’s sister, takes to the Twitter machine to take it to a heckling Penguins “fan.”
There is Phil’s grandma, too.
She was videoed chugging a little bubbly out of the Stanley Cup.
— Alex Iniguez (@alexiniguez) July 21, 2016
We’ll leave the last word to someone who had the pleasure of teasing Phil from the most powerful seat in the land. President Obama, if you will…