It’s that time of the year!  The time when the days get colder, the malls get busier, the bills get longer and every website puts together a bunch of “Best of” lists for the year.  And, because we enjoy following trends as well as counting stuff, we’re doing the same.

One of the best parts of hockey (and most professional sports) is the fact that almost anything can happen.  On any given night a player or a team can come out of nowhere and shock an established favourite.  Hockey games can make you jump up from your seat with excitement or fall on the floor with shock.  Sometimes both of those things can happen in the same game!

Today we present our favourite unbelievable moments and stories from 2010.

7. The Rise of Stamkos

When Steven Stamkos was drafted first overall in 2008, he was expected to be good.  But few assumed he would be competing with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin for goal-scoring titles.  Yet in 2010 he did just that.  He scored 51 goals to tie Crosby and share the 2010 Rocket Richard Trophy and he currently sits three goals behind Crosby in the current goal-scoring race.

6. Sidney Crosby’s Point Streak

It came to a end last night against the Islanders, but watching Crosby rack up 26 goals and 50 points in 25 games was definitely impressive.  Even more unbelievable is the point that NHL Fanhouse makes about the streak:

The point total from the streak alone (ignoring the games he played before the streak) would be enough to place him second in the scoring race, just two points behind Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos.

The fact that he accomplished this while sporting that dirty moustache makes it even more amazing.

5. The Blackhawks End Their 49-Year Drought, Trade Half Their Team

It was a goal that many people didn’t even see go in, but it ended the longest Stanley Cup drought in NHL history.  Perhaps even more unbelievable was the salary cap-induced dismantling of the team that followed in the off-season. As a result of those trades, the Atlanta Thrashers became competitive for the first time, which leads us to our next story.

4. The Thrashers Soar While The Devils Bottom Out

When the Thrashers traded Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils in February 2010, few would have guessed that the trade would send the two teams in completely opposite directions.  The Devils struggles are certainly unexpected, and it’s definitely nice to see the Thrashers finally playing competitive hockey.

3. The Olympic Final

There couldn’t have been a more storybook finish to a wonderful Olympic games.  Sidney Crosby, while having a relatively quiet tournament overall, cemented himself in Canadian history when he scored “the golden goal” in Vancouver.

2. The Flyers Overcome The Odds

When the Bruins stormed out to a 3-0 series lead, it looked like it was over.  It wasn’t.  When the Bruins stormed out to a 3-0 lead in game seven, it looked like it was over.  It wasn’t.  The Flyers overcame the odds both times and eliminated the Bruins in one of the greatest and most dramatic comebacks in NHL history.

1. Halak and The Habs

Led by the outstanding goaltending of Jaroslav Halak, the eighth seed Montreal Canadiens defeated the President’s Trophy-winning Washington Capitals and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back seven game series.  Eliminating both Ovechkin and Crosby was the most unbelievable story of 2010.