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Best of 2013: TSN.ca looks back at the year in hockey

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TSN.ca Staff
12/24/2013 1:51:23 PM
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As 2013 winds to a close, TSN.ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. TSN.ca's writing staff reflects on the best hockey moments from the past 12 months including Alfie going to Detroit, Ovi finding another gear, Patrick Roy losing his cool and more.

Daniel Alfredsson's Motown Revue

By: Shane McNeil

Hockey fans had seen it before.

The hero leaves the city where he's enjoyed years, sometimes decades of memories and successes in search of one or two years' worth of hunting down a Championship ring.

Ray Bourque, Mats Sundin, Jarome Iginla - It happens. It's no slight on the player and more often than not, the organization and the fans do nothing but wish them the best.

But, Daniel Alfredsson? Did anyone see that coming?

Here is the man that took a pay cut to keep the team afloat amidst bankruptcy. 'Alfie' is a man who ascended to nearly religious standards in the Nation's Capital after years of battling the Toronto Maple Leafs and getting the team to its only Stanley Cup Final.

In the days (hours?) that followed Alfredsson's signing in Motown, the Senators brass tried to foist the breakdown on their long-time captain and his agent J.P. Barry. The lines of communication, they believed, went silent at the most crucial time.

Alfredsson's decision to sign in Detroit appeared to be based on a player not being willing to settle for another discount deal. But what's more surprising than Alfredsson leaving Ottawa is that the Senators let it happen.

Ovechkin makes fast work post-lockout

By: Ken Rodney

Nobody embodied the sprint mentality of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 NHL regular season quite like the Washington Capitals and more specifically their superstar Alexander Ovechkin.

After not scoring in the first four games of the season, Ovechkin finished the first month of the schedule with only two goals and in those seven games, his team had only managed to pick up three points.

However as their captain and leader caught fire so did the team Capitals, who rely on him for both an offensive and emotional boost.

When the dust settled at the end of the 48 game regular season, Ovechkin had 32 goals, including 24 in the final 23 games and the Capitals had captured the Southeast Division and were the third seed heading into the playoffs.

The Moscow native won the scoring race by three goals to earn his third Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer, the only player to win as many since it was first awarded in 1998.

Proving three is a charm for the man they call The Great Eight, he was also awarded with his third Hart Trophy as league MVP for his spectacular season.

Patrick Roy blows up on his first night as Avalanche head coach

By: Ryan Horne

It didn't take long for Patrick Roy to make his mark as an NHL head coach.

In fact, it only took one game.

Roy's Colorado Avalanche were pummeling the visiting Anaheim Ducks on the inaugural night of the regular season. When the first-year coach witnessed what he viewed as a cheap shot against his star rookie Nathan MacKinnon, he didn't hold back.

Roy cursed and hollered at Ducks' coach Bruce Boudreau and even pushed the plexiglass separating the two teams, almost knocking it down.

He was hit with a game misconduct and fined $10, 000 for the incident.

Not bad for your first night as a professional bench boss.

A lot of people speculated this could happen with the fiery former goalie, but probably not this quickly. Regardless, the Avalanche players seem to be cool with it as they hold one of the better records in the Western Conference after being forecast as a non-playoff team before the season.

It's yet to be seen whether Roy's actions will get him into any further trouble, but there's a good chance he's not going to change for anybody.

If the Quebec City native feels a certain way, he has no problem with expressing it.

Just ask Ronald Corey.

Martin St. Louis: One for the Ages

By: Mike Beauvais

There are a lot of things Martin St. Louis probably shouldn't have been.

Undrafted, the diminutive native of Laval, Quebec's stay in the NHL probably shouldn't have lasted for much longer than the cup of coffee he had with the Calgary Flames in the late '90s.

Conventional wisdom also didn't see St. Louis developing into the offensive juggernaut, six-time All-Star, Hart Trophy-winning, Stanley Cup champion that St. Louis blossomed into while a member of the Lightning.

With the list of things Martin St. Louis probably shouldn't have been already lengthy, he added yet another to the list in 2013.

Alongside young sniper Steven Stamkos, the 37-year-old St. Louis was the Batman to his Robin in 2013. The cagey veteran partnered with the Boy Wonder. The NHL was their Gotham City in 2013 and they were the premier Dynamic Duo of offence.

In the Lightning's April 27 season-ending 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers, St. Louis had a goal and assist to bring him to the 60-point plateau in the shortened 48-game season. That was three points more than Stamkos' haul for the year and the most in the NHL, handing St. Louis his second Art Ross Trophy. When he did it before in 2003-2004, it was improbable, but when he did it again in 2013, he did it as the oldest player in NHL history.

There are a lot of things Martin St. Louis probably shouldn't have been, but it should surprise nobody at all when he decides to add something else to that list.

The Lockout ends, the fans flock back

By: Barry Riz

The NHL's arenas were empty. The lockout had dragged on some 100 days. The first week of 2013 saw some headway in negotiations but no deal yet.

As fans described it, billionaire owners and millionaire players just couldn't figure out how to divide up $3.3 billion in revenue. And the fans had seen more than enough through a battle that dragged on through the fall and early winter.

Fans were going to protest by returning season tickets. They were going to boycott games if any were ever played. They were going to stop buying NHL-branded merchandise. They were going to stop watching on television.

But things turned quickly in the early days of 2013. A deal was struck Jan. 6, and after a speedy training camp the season opened Jan. 19.

And the fans came back. Oh, did they ever.

League attendance and TV numbers returned stronger than before. The 48-game season was fast-paced and quickly consumed, with a Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final topping off the league's return.

Forgiven? Probably not. Forgotten, absolutely.

And as someone tweeted on opening night: "Somewhere Gary Bettman is watching all this hoopla and making a note to himself, and is putting it in a file marked "NHL LOCKOUT 2020."

MacKinnon lights it up at Memorial Cup, locks in at first overall

By: Ryan Horne

Saying Nathan MacKinnon earned the right to be drafted first overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft would be an understatement.

In the finals of the Memorial Cup against Seth Jones, the other first overall hopeful, and the Portland Winterhawks, MacKinnon netted a hat-trick, added a couple assists and helped the Halifax Mooseheads win their first national championship in team history.

He was named tournament MVP, scoring seven goals and six assists in just four games after a spectacular regular season tallying 75 points in 44 games.

Going into the tournament, many thought the smooth skating Jones would be the man the Colorado Avalanche would end up taking with their No.1 selection, especially considering their lack of depth on defence.

But on June 24, 2013, Joe Sakic stepped up to the podium in New Jersey and took the 18-year-old from Halifax.

And with MacKinnon's stellar play at both the Memorial Cup and in the QMJHL, you can't blame them.

Jones, on the other hand, fell to the Nashville Predators at number four.

Both are having solid rookie seasons, but it will be interesting to see if Colorado still likes their decision a few years down the road.

Best of 2013: NHL (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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