Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best goals, saves, moments, players and more as we remember 2018.
Hockey players can make the amazing look mundane, to the point that you sometimes forget that they’re doing it all on ice, wearing razor-sharp blades. It can be downright overwhelming for us mere mortals.
With all of that in mind, bloopers provide comic relief, and reminder that we’re watching humans, and as athletic and courageous as they are, they’re also fallible.
The NHL’s never seen more skill than what was on display in 2018, yet there were a ton of great/humiliating bloopers during this calendar year. In fact, there’s a strong chance that some memorable ones slipped under the cracks, so feel free to share any other standouts in the comments.
Masks and mascots
Can something be a blooper when it’s a resounding success, one that transcends hockey and mere sports to dominate mainstream “best of 2018” lists, such as from The New Yorker and The Onion’s AV Club?
*Nods head yes, while googly-eyes shake frantically*
Gritty owned 2018, and the mascot’s staying power only gets more profound when you realize that the odd-looking pseudo-creature debuted in September. Sure, there’s some “Gritty fatigue” setting in for many – 2019 might not be as kind to the mascot and his jiggling belly – but the hits heavily outweigh the misses.
Maybe 2019 can open the door for Jittery?
[The year in Gritty: “Tonight Show” appearance, Gritty Claus, Gritty’s grand entrance]
If you need a specific Gritty blooper, this probably captured the essence of the phenomenon more than hitting half-court basketball shots:
Back when the Predators were red-hot on the road instead of ice-cold, Peter Laviolette lost a bet, and donned the bull head:
While Gritty fits the “is this really happening or am I dreaming?” feel of the year 2018, the single most unthinkable mascot moment involved Tommy Hawk of the Blackhawks.
Maybe it’s too grim to be a true blooper, maybe not, but this bout is legitimately surreal:
Own-goals, miscues, and other flubs
The Hurricanes have been the masters of bad puck luck in recent seasons, but one of the last goals Cam Ward allowed in Carolina was one of the strangest. Alex Goligoski was credited with this one, as a puck got stuck in Ward’s skate and ended up behind the goal line, counting as a goal. Find out more about that odd moment here.
Mikhail Vorobyev of the Flyers isn’t the only person who will find his first NHL goal tough to forget. Mark Barberio and Semyon Varlamov collided, and Philly got an easy goal against Colorado early this season:
Panthers star Aleksander Barkov is one of those players who seems to do everything well, but even he has moments he’d like to forget, like this shootout mishap:
Goalies must hate long-range goals, but if it’s any comfort, they seem to happen to just about all of them. There were several funny ones in 2018, but Keith Yandle tricking Pekka Rinne was especially cheeky:
Tristan Jarry stumbling and falling on this goal pretty much never fails to make me laugh. Jarry got the last/more recent laugh, as he scored a goal in the AHL in November.
Sometimes, it’s not the players who are bloopering(?), as you can see from an official landing an errant elbow on Oliver Ekman-Larsson:
What was your favorite blooper from 2018?
More PHT Year in Review:
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.