In hockey there are moments that leave fans, coaches, and even players at a loss for words. It is the beauty of sports. The emotional roller coaster can turn on a dime at a moment's notice.
Hockey can stun the players on the ice, the fans stands, and the staff in the front office. Crazy injuries, full team brawls, and prolific moments all throw the element of surprise into the world's greatest game.
Every franchise has at least one such moment, so let's take a look at each NHL franchise's most shocking moment.
J.S. Giguere Wins the Conn Smythe
In 2003 the Anaheim Ducks went on a magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals. J.S. Giguere was instrumental in that run, coming out of nowhere to absolutely steal the show for the Ducks.
Anaheim came up short that season, but Giguere's effort was so monumental that he was able to capture the MVP award anyways. His dominance was nothing short of amazing.
Dropping Four Straight to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Postseason
Not all shocking moments are exciting. In fact, often times the shock leaves a nasty taste in one's mouth. That was the case for the Boston Bruins in 2010. After jumping out to a three games to none lead, Boston allowed Philadelphia to come all the way back and win the series.
Brett Hull Scores a Questionable Winner
There is one memory burned in the heads of Sabres' fans everywhere. The goal that wasn't a goal. To this day the name Brett Hull will make any Buffalo fan cringe and think of the Stanley Cup clinching goal that Hull scored to lift the Dallas Stars to their first ever Stanley Cup victory.
Eliminating the Detroit Red Wings in the 2004 NHL Playoffs
The Detroit Red Wings have been a consistently elite hockey team since the mid 1990's. At the turn of the millennium there was not a team that was more difficult to knock off. However, in 2004 the Flames knocked off the Wings on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, despite being just the 6th seed in the Western Conference.
Rob Brind'amour Scores the Game Winner to Lift the Hurricanes to their first ever Stanley Cup
The 2006 Hurricanes got the state of Carolina invigorated about hockey. The most most dramatic and pivotal moment of the Stanley Cup run was Rod Brind'amour's game winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals that clinched the birth in the Cup Finals for the Canes.
First Round Loss to the Minnesota North Stars in the 1991 NHL Playoffs
The 1991 season was an excellent one for the Chicago Blackhawks until the club reached the postseason. There, despite having Stanley Cup aspirations, the Hawks were upended by the jump start Minnesota North Stars in the very first round of the playoffs.
Steve Moore Gets Sucker Punched by Todd Bertuzzi
Hockey is a violent sport in which scores are constantly being settled throughout the league. Unfortunately, things often get taken too far and players get injured in the process.
Steve Moore was likely expecting some level of revenge to be sought after his cheap shot on Markus Naslund. However, the level of revenge that was executed was nothing short of shocking.
Fan Dies After Being Struck By a Puck
Anyone who has attended a live hockey game has likely been warned about the potential of a puck flying into the stands. The 14 year old was struck by a puck and died a few days later.
The incident shocked the league and its fans while sparking changes by the league to ensure that the tragedy would not repeat itself.
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
While the Buffalo Sabres were shockingly robbed of a Stanley Cup victory, the fans of the Dallas Stars were treated to a pleasant surprise as their captain strutted around the downtown area of Dallas with hockey's ultimate prize. The victory and the manner in which it was achieved was a shocking combination. Brett Hull's game winning goal will be debated until the end of time.
Claude Lemieux Takes Out Kris Draper
The Detroit Red Wings have had a prolific history, but most of their success is not of the shocking variety. The team is expected to win and does.
However, the rivalry Detroit developed with Colorado was fertile ground for some heart stopping moments. One of the scariest and most shocking moments that the rivalry produced was Claude Lemieux's vicious cheapshot on Kris Draper.
Gretzky Scores 50 Goals In 39 Games
Wayne Gretzky had a boatload of accomplishments during his career, but one of the most insane was the speed at which he accumulated 50 goals in 39 games during the 1981 season. Gretzky had a knack for leaving the hockey world speechless.
Vanbiesbrouck vs Roy in Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals
The Florida Panthers have not had much success in their history, so when John Vanbiesbrouck managed to carry the team to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 1996 it got the world's attention.
However, the Panthers quickly went down 0-3 in the series and were clinging for dear life in the fourth game of the series. That game featured what would prove to be one of the greatest goaltending duels of the past 20 years. John Vanbiesbrouck and Patrick Roy battled well into the night, taking a scoreless draw into the third overtime frame before the Beezer finally broke.
The Panthers have never been as close to a Stanley Cup, and to see the team put up that kind of fight was a surprise to a lot of people.
Acquiring the Great One
There has never been a trade as shocking as the one in 1988 which sent the best player in the history of the game, who was still reasonably in the prime of his career, out of Edmonton and to the Los Angeles Kings. The trade was unheard of, and the success Gretzky had during his first year in the league thickened the plot even more.
Wild Upset the Colorado Avalanche
The Minnesota Wild have only been around since 2000, but the team has already sent shock waves through the passionate fan base in the State of Hockey. The Wild finally put themselves on the map by eliminating the Colorado Avalanche from the 2003 Playoffs in the first round of action. Minnesota overcame a 3 games to 1 deficit to knock off the Avs and won games six and seven in overtime.
Howie Morenz Dies Tragically
Howie Morenz was one of the originally legends of the Montreal Canadiens. During his 14 NHL seasons he won three Stanley Cups with Montreal. However, during the 1937 season Morenz suffered a severely broken leg during a game and later died of a heart attack that was likely caused by the injury. The moment was one that has stuck with the Canadiens for the better part of the century.
The Nashville Predators are Founded
Not many people think of Nashville as a hockey town. Gary Bettman, however, is one of those people that definitely does. Bettman made the commitment to bring hockey to the south and did so in a big way that was borderline shocking to many diehard hockey fans.
Devils Sweep the Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals
Most teams struggle tooth and nail to capture the first Stanley Cup in their existence. However, the Devils had done enough struggling in the years prior to facing off against the Red Wings that they just blew the doors off Detroit to start their run of 3 titles in a decade.
Pierre Turgeon Gets Hacked in the 1993 NHL Playoffs
The New York Islanders have had tons of success as a franchise, but none of that was as shocking as the reaction from the opposition in the 1993 NHL Playoffs. After Pierre Turgeon pickpockets Dale Hunter and scores a goal, Hunter decides to cross-check Turgeon from behind to get retribution. This was a shockingly barbaric series of events.
Rangers Win the 1994 Stanley Cup
There have been plenty of prolific and disturbing moments in New York Rangers' history, but the moment that truly left the city numb with shock and euphoria was winning the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship. Rangers' fans still cling to that moment as the pinnacle of New York hockey.
Fights happen all the time in hockey. In the same light, penalty minutes are piled up in ridiculous fashion quite often. However, what the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers put together on March 5, 2004 was the most shocking display of lacking discipline. The teams combined for 213 penalty minutes in a single contest. That's what I call bad blood.
A comeback for the ages
This comeback has already been mentioned during this slideshow, but it was such a shocker that it took two cities by storm in completely opposite ways. When the Flyers came back from down 3-0 to the Bruins it ignited a fire under the Philly fan base and city that didn't need any waking up.
Shockingly Low Attendance
Plenty of teams have attendance issues league-wide, but the Phoenix Coyotes feel the need to take it to a completely different level, constantly putting embarrassingly low amounts of people in the stands. Who says hockey can't work in the South? Apparently the majority of the city of Phoenix.
Lemieux Diagnosed With Cancer
Mario Lemieux was on a record pace during the 1992 NHL season. It was one of the best starts he and the Penguins had ever had. It all changed on a dime when Lemieux made the announcement in January of 1993 that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Even more shocking is the fact that Lemieux returned to the game upon his recovery and was still a dominant player.
1994 Western Conference Quarterfinals
The San Jose Sharks have not broken through to win the Stanley Cup just yet, but the team has shocked the hockey world on numerous occasions in the postseason since entering the league. Easily the most shocking was San Jose's upset of the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 1994 Playoffs. Anytime an 8 seed upends a 1 seed it is going to turn heads, but when the 1 seed is the Wings and the 8 seed was the then lowly San Jose Sharks, that becomes a shocking moment.
First Season First Stanley Cup Appearance
The St. Louis Blues wasted no time making their mark on the NHL. In the team's first season in the league they went to the 1968 Stanley Cup Finals. The Blues did so in dramatic fashion as well with an overtime winner against the Minnesota North Stars in the semi-finals.
The Lightning Win the Stanley Cup
Winning the Stanley Cup is never an overly shocking moment, however, the response Tampa received from the local crowd after winning the 2004 Stanley Cup was a bit surprising. They woke up a sports town that is normally asleep at the wheel, and they did so with solid exciting hockey.
Tie Domi Fights a Fan
Tie Domi was never shy to fight, so perhaps it isn't all that shocking that the Leafs' enforcer started a fight with a fan after getting a penalty against the Flyers. Sure, it was a Philadelphia fan, but that does not justify the beating Domi dished out. It's always shocking to see a player fight a fan.
Vancouver Riots in 1994 and 2011
Having never won a Stanley Cup in their existence, the people of Vancouver are itching to see their Canucks bring the Stanley Cup to their beautiful town. They are so eager, in fact, that when that goal is not accomplished they put the whole town up in flames. Both in 1994 and 2011, the last two times the Canucks have been to and lost the Stanley Cup, the people of Vancouver have rioted to show their displeasure. This is all over a game of hockey.
The Easter Epic
In April of 1987 the Washington Capitals took place in an epic hockey game, quite literally. The game lasted four overtime periods when the Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs by a late goal. It took seven periods of hockey, but the Washington Capitals finally cracked.
Dan Snyder's Death
Unfortunately, the most poignant memory of the Atlanta Thrashers is the tragic and shocking death of Dan Snyder, who was killed in a car accident driving with teammate Dany Heatley. It's nothing short of tragic to see someone die that young.