The final installment of Screen Shots: Year In Review is just like the three that came before it, and similar to almost all network TV news: at least part of it is guaranteed to be true. Enjoy, and have a great New Year (to read Part 1, click HERE; Part 2, click HERE; Part 3, click HERE).
October-December: Open up and say "Awe".
Oct. 5: Opening night of the NHL season features all 30 teams playing. It also features the first shootout in league history, leading to a 3-2 Senators win over the Maple Leafs.
Â“Muahahaha!Â” said Newby McNotradition, communications director for the Bleeding-Heart Pinko-Commie Sportswriters of North America. Â“Now, no one can deny the game-altering powers of otherwise-ordinary people armed only with laptops and Irritable Bowel Syndrome!Â”
Â“From here, we turn to our next important tasks: ending baseball ties through home run contests, and deciding NFL deadlocks by making quarterbacks throw footballs through tires! Once again, muahahaha!Â”
Oct. 5: Minnesota Wild fans are treated to an extra-special home opener when Gov. Tim Pawlenty spectacularly botches his pre-game address to the crowd.
Pawlenty is supposed to say: "It's time to drop the puck. So everybody say it with me - 'Let's play hockey!'Â”. He comes close, but rather than saying Â“puck,Â” Pawlenty says a word that rhymes with Â“puckÂ”, a word that also got little Ralphie into a world of trouble in A Christmas Story.
"It was an unfortunate slip of the tongue,Â” said Pawlenty, who Wild officials described after the incident as already having Â“said Paw-lenty.Â”
The governor offers to redeem himself at a subsequent Wild game. But after huddling with the politician's schedule-makers, team officials turn him down when they discover the only date he has free is their Jan. 20 game against Chicago Â– a.k.a. the Catholic Church-sponsored Â“Go Kiss Up A Pope NightÂ”.
Oct. 15: After playing just five games for the Phoenix Coyotes, Brett Hull unexpectedly announces his retirement, ending a brilliant and, at times, controversial 19-year NHL career.
Â“The fire just isn't there for me now,Â” Hull said, trying to maintain his composure. Â“One morning I woke up, and I just couldn't deny it any longer: I couldn't not give a f--- about the fans the way I used to.
Â“Once I started wanting to give a f---, I knew it was time to go home.Â”
Oct. 27: The NHL's relationship with new TV broadcast partner OLN Â– already strained from numerous, network-induced blackouts of games Â– take a turn for the worse after the stunt casting of Panthers coach Jacques Martin on Fishing With Roland Martin.
Â“When the NHL said they were interested in cross-promotion, we were thrilled,Â” said OLN president Gavin Harvey. Â“Little did we know the combination of their Mr. Martin and our Mr. Martin would be so boring, even fishing fans would curl up in the fetal position and fall into a deep, coma-like slumber.
Â“If our customers don't ever wake up, how will they pay us for our services?Â” Harvey asked. Â“I'm not saying Â‘no' to the idea of more NHLers on our programs, but in the short term I can confirm we've cancelled Tomas Kaberle's scheduled appearance on Beretta's Bird Hunter's Journal.Â”
Nov. 17: Devils star Martin Brodeur becomes the first goaltender named to the NHL's competition committee.
However, Brodeur is devastated when he finds out an important part of the committee's workspace is off-limits Â– but only to him.
Dec. 1: Boston trades captain and franchise cornerstone Joe Thornton to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.
Although the trade angers the few Bruins fans who haven't grown desperately tired of rebuilding year after year, Boston management is thrilled with the deal.
Â“Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm are two young players approaching the prime of their careers,Â” said Bruins GM Mike O'Connell. Â“We envision them being part of this franchise for years to come Â– or at least, until ownership questions their heart, makes them scapegoats and jettisons them like so much flotsam.Â”
Dec. 18: L.A. Kings super-pest Sean Avery unveils plans to publish his autobiography, tentatively titled Dr. Strangemouth or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love (a) Rod Stewart's Ex-Wife, (b) Jack Bauer's Daughter, (c) Offending French-Canadians and (d) Turtling When Challenged To A Fight.
Dec. 19: Larry Robinson resigns as Devils coach, chalking up his decision to stress headaches.
Later that day, team doctors officially diagnose Robinson's ailment as Â“MissingStevensAndNiedermayeritis of the rosterÂ”.
Dec. 26: After watching his team lose four of five games, Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon blows a gasket or two, hinting that nobody Â– not even star free agent acquisition Nikolai Khabibulin Â– should consider themselves untradeable.
"I'm not going to sit still," Tallon said. "I'll listen to anything on anybody. That's just the way it is. I'm not going to put up with it. Enough is enough."
Finally Â– a Blackhawks official truly in touch with Chicago's long-suffering fans. There may be hope for this franchise yet.
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