There have been many memorable moments in the last five years of hockey. Some over-the-top highlights are results of controversial players trying to maintain their reputation . Some of the more unique occasions are products of intensity in the heat of passion. Other on-ice instances—let's just say should never happen at all. Nonetheless, here are 10 of the most bizarre NHL moments on ice since the lockout. All of which are well known and truly outstanding.
To kick off the top 10, is Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup overtime winner of the 2009-2010 NHL season. This ending was probably the most awkward finish to a championship game in a while. Not many people were certain that it was a clear goal at first. As a viewer, commentators gave us an impression that play was still going on, but the Chicago Blackhawks were already half celebrating. However, they had looks on their faces that suggested that the goal could be called back. After the goal was confirmed, the team went on to fully celebrate, and the Blackhawks ended a 49-year championship drought.
Perhaps the only reason you might know who Ryan Hollweg is, this incident might arguably be the worst of its kind in history. On March 11, 2007, Chris Simon set the record for the longest suspension in history, as he was suspended 25 games for intentionally slashing Ryan Hollweg in the face, in what was probably the most vicious and potentially harmful slash that anyone has ever witnessed. Fortunately, Hollweg was alright and sustained only minor injuries. Simon later went on to break his longest suspension record in the next season, as he attempted to stomp another player with his skate. He received a 30-game suspension, with the fact taken into consideration that he was a repeat offender.
In his rookie campaign, this perennial MVP scored several highlight-reel goals, but one that might be among the most talked about in the decades to come. While yes, the puck actually finding its way to the back of the net was partially a result of luck and goalie unawareness, but it is was the indomitable spirit of the Great Eight that made this impossible goal possible.
It is not outrageous to see own goals in hockey, however, one must wonder what was going through Niclas Wallin's mind when he decided to shoot the puck at his own empty net from centre ice. Unlike other instances where players accidentally pass the puck back either thinking a player was there or not knowing that the goalie left the net, it was evident that Wallin had a clear view of what he needed to see when making a decision to release the puck. This own goal looked almost intentional.
While this incident might be slightly less bizarre after the sequence of Penguins and Islanders goaltender battles this season, this team brawl was truly one of a kind back in the 2006-2007 season. Immediately after destroying Martin Biron in a fight, goaltender Ray Emery engages in a scrap with one of the toughest fighters in the league, Andrew Peters. Not only was this unique because the referees allowed this fight to last for an entire 30 seconds but also because of how amusing this fight looked from a spectators point of view, with one player wearing far more equipment than the other.
Apart from in a humorous hockey parody, you might also see something like this when an overanxious rookie runs into a veteran agitator. Jarkko Ruutu challenges Dion Phaneuf to fight in one of the earlier games of Dion's career during the 2005-2006 season but proceeds to trip Dion with his stick and skate off the ice. One of the more outstanding features of this is the hilarious manner in which Phaneuf falls on his back; something that might appear in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Just listen to the commentators. Also, Phaneuf received an unsportsmanlike penalty on that play while Ruutu was not penalized.
These days, it is very likely that in making a top 10 list, Sean Avery will be included. In probably the most bizarre of his numerous on ice antics, Avery engages in a extraordinary method of screening the opposing goalie. While his actions appeared to be questionable, they were completely legal at the time. After the league assessed the situation, they introduced a new unsportsmanlike rule, which was composed of restrictions of particular features of Avery's screening method, to the point that the establishment of the rule looked absolutely ridiculous and exclusive. It became known as the "Sean Avery Rule."
Probably one of the strangest, yet subtle, series of events leading up to a goal, Bobby Ryan and Mikko Koivu end up swapping sticks and Ryan ends up scoring during the play. Not only was the whole sequence completely innocent and unintentional on Ryan's behalf, but the referees and other players were completely oblivious to what happened during that shift as well. One must wonder, what in the world possessed Koivu to grab the stick right out of an opposing player's hand after dropping his own, and why was he not penalized for holding the stick? To top it off, a Minnesota Wild player was kind enough to kick Koivu's dropped stick towards Bobby Ryan's direction so that he was conveniently able to pick it up and score when the puck was passed to him.
Although this may be a subjective case of dark humor, it is absolutely laughable that Keith Ballard was able to swing his stick in frustration, slash his own goalie in the mask, and finish breaking off his stick without even realizing that he injured someone in the process. Nonetheless, this is a classic "what if?" scenario, where people often envision the worst case but never really expect it to ever happen. Perhaps the acquisition of Ballard by the Vancouver Canucks is correlated to the sudden emergence of Cory Schneider, just in case Roberto Luongo is in danger of missing a few games due to the careless rage of teammates after a bad goal.
This is number one on many top 10 lists, and with good reason. Patrik Stefan's inability to put the puck into the empty net when he was all alone, followed by an Oilers tying goal with just two seconds left in the game, might possibly combine to form the blooper of the century on a professional level. To make this embarrassing moment even more talked about, Stefan was a No. 1 overall pick in 1999, which was already confirmed by most to be a flop. Well, at least he was able to add a colossal highlight to his resume before leaving the NHL.