Hey everyone! This wrapup is super late just because the end of last year and the beginning of this one got a little hectic and it’s just now settling a little bit. We decided to just try and roll out December and January’s wrapups around the same time and hope to be more diligent in future.
We hope you had a wonderful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate, and that you got everything you wanted! On with the show.
Also, in the “Things I Should’ve Done When First Opening This Blog” category, there is now an actual proper Adventures in Pucking email address. firstname.lastname@example.org is the place!
Krista: After a frustrating and just awful November, the month of December started off promising. They played the New York Islanders in the first of a home-and-home series and won in a shootout, with Ben Smith scoring his first goal of the season and Patrick Kane moving back from center to wing. The next game against the St. Louis Blues was also a win, with a sweet PPG from Patrick Sharp and a SHG on the penalty kill by Marian Hossa.
We then faced the Coyotes again and lost in a shootout (coincidentally, this game was featured in Kaner’s episode of NHL 36), but Ray Emery impressed me. This is when the whole “ZOMG CONTROVERSY!!!1!” thing began. You see, there are those within Blackhawks Nation who believe that Razor should strictly be backup, while others like me think that he and Corey Crawford are equally matched and should share netminding duties.
The boy met the Islanders in their barn and broke a 9-year losing streak. It was also significant for two reasons: Hoss potted his 400th career goal, and Sharpie discovered after the game that his wife had gone into labor; daughter Madelyn was born the next afternoon (congrats again to Sharpie and Abby!). He’d just scored the GWG in overtime, too!
We played the San Jose Sharks next, and Sharpie again scored the OT goal to win. It’s always difficult to play them, especially with former Hawks goalie Antti Niemi in net.
The next game was a pip: the boys played the Minnesota Wild for the first time in the season. Yes, Jonathan Toews picked up his 300th career point that night, but it was Kaner who got all the attention with his dirty little shootout goal against Niklas Backstrom. Speaking of Kaner, his episode of NHL 36 debuted before the game, so it was a good luck charm for the team.
The game against the Anaheim Ducks was a bit of a downer in spite of the win due to the absence of Daniel Carcillo, who was hit in the head in a scrum during the Minny game and was deemed day-to-day. The next game against the Calgary Flames was worse, though: Rene Bourque boarded Brent Seabrook, who thankfully left the ice on his own even though he didn’t return to the game. It kinda put a damper on the fact that Coach Joel Quenneville celebrated his 600th win as an NHL coach.
More bad news when the boys traveled to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins: although Seabs was back, Marcus Kruger was hit by Deryk Engelland and was out of action. The only good thing was that John Scott came to Krugs’ defense and beat the tar out of Engelland.
Right before Christmas break, the boys faced the Montreal Canadiens and added to their losing ways, with Crow coming back in net and having an extraordinary game and Brian Bickell scoring his first goal since Halloween. Sharpie also scored a goal with his wife and baby looking on. Good note for the holiday!
The Blue Jackets were the first opponents after Christmas, and it seemed all right when Krugs came back, but Rick Nash nicked him and sent him back to IR. Then in their loss against the Kings we watched Kaner play while he was sick with strep throat, which he’d also done against Columbus (he’d gotten it over Christmas, poor lamb).
But the final game of the year came against our big rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. It was the debut of Jimmy Hayes, who got his first goal and assist, and the return of Carcillo, who showed he was back by mixing it up with Todd Bertuzzi (who had the nerve to actually chase him around before dropping gloves) . Our first game against the Wings was a very nice win in the Madhouse, and our 10-2-1 record put us at the top of the division, the conference and the league. Nicely done, boys!
Emma: I’m sorry November was so bad for your team, Krista. It was very good for the Bruins…a 12-0-1 month…But anyway, let’s talk December. The first December game was a 4-1 win against Toronto and the 100th consecutive sellout at TD Garden! (I also learned that the Toronto homers are insufferable!)
The 3-1 win against Pittsburgh felt like a playoff game and was quite nearly a shutout if not for, ugh, Matt Cooke. (This is also the game where Sidney Crosby felt the reappearance of concussion-like symptoms; while some blame David Krejci for it, the collision he had with a teammate, purely accidental, maybe contributed to it too.)
Then I drank to get through a 2-1 loss to the Jets in their home barn. Tyler Seguin maybe learned to not miss team breakfasts and Bruins Nation learned about the heinous “traditions” Jets fans have, like booing captains just for being captains.
The Bruins kept being fail-y when the Panthers came to town and shut us out 2-0. The sound of puck hitting pipe haunted us all that night.
Thankfully they remembered how hard-fought the first game against Columbus was and beat them 5-3 in a game that showed the versatility of our team: we don’t rely solely on one or two big snipers–oh no, even d-men can score big for us.
I turned 23 and the Bruins helped me celebrate by shutting out the Kings 3-0. Brad Marchand was a good brat and scored twice.
The next day, the Bruins won 5-2 against Ottawa in a game that included three successful breakaways: two from oft-unsuccessful Daniel Paille and one from Patrice Bergeron. There was some d-man drama, but everything ended up being okay.
A 6-0 shutout against Philadelphia, which appeared on 24/7, was deliciously fun to watch though I had to watch the Philly version of events. In his first game back after an injury, Zdeno Chara got a Gordie Howe hat trick. (Later on, watching 24/7, the way the game was portrayed was hilariously slanted, but whatever.)
Santa and Mrs. Claus attended a 3-2 victory against the Habs that Milan Lucic had to sit out of because he has a reputation. Sigh…
The last game before Christmas, the Bruins made us a snowman, 8-0 against Florida. We got another special gift that night when Marchand got his first career hat trick. Well done, honey badger.
Adam McQuaid beat the crap out of Raffi Torres during a 2-1 OT victory in Phoenix, which was part and parcel of NHL 36: Patrice Bergeron.
Finally, we closed out 2011 with a rather uncharacteristic 4-2 loss in Dallas. We resolved to a better 2012!
Some new records were set in December for our fantasy league. Krista’s team set a record for assists on December 3 with 12. My team notched a plus/minus best with 16 on December 23 (part of that might’ve been due to the snowman game that night). Erin’s team got aggressive on December 8 and set a record of 26 hits.
This month, we’re adding the Calgary Flames, formerly of Atlanta, to our list of teams who had been relocated.
1980-81 Calgary Flames: 6-3-3
1995-96 Colorado Avalanche: 7-6-1
1996-97 Phoenix Coyotes: 10-4-0
1997-98 Carolina Hurricanes: 5-8-1
2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers: 7-6-3
2011-12 Winnipeg Jets: 10-3-1
It should be noted that while Winnipeg tallied only one shutout loss in December, it was their third of the season to date. By contrast the Thrashers had already racked up what would be their only shutout loss in the entire season. Yes, you read that correctly.
All-Star balloting began in earnest, and in case you’ve just now emerged from hibernation, let’s just say ballot stuffing was inevitable. (As Jack Edwards joked-but-not-really-joked, the voting showed that a lot of people in Canada know how to use computers.) The Blackhawks even had a write-in campaign to get Corey Crawford sent to Ottawa! For the Bruins, a less-officially-organized “Draft Patrice Bergeron” bid occurred.