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The NHL's best — and worst — of the 2010s – New York Post

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Did you know that this decade was the only one in which the NHL had 10 different Hart Trophy winners? You do now.

The teams that dominated the first half of the 10s — the Blackhawks and Kings — have become lottery-divers at its end, trapped by inevitable aging and management blunders dealing with the cap that was always meant to punish excellence.

Don’t worry, though. America’s Outdoor Hockey Team — that’s Chicago, folks — will find a way to benefit again from LTI (long term injury) with Brent Seabrook, and all will be right with the world. Unless, that is, Jonathan Toews objects because it will add to his escrow deduction.

The decade started with NHL teams getting 43 percent of the revenue and crying poverty and ended with teams getting 50 percent and rolling in dough, which is probably a pretty good reason why “Mr. Jacobs” of Boston found his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame without even paying admission.

A look back at the decade:

Ranking Cup winners

1. 2013 Blackhawks

2. 2017 Penguins

3. 2018 Capitals

4. 2014 Kings

5. 2011 Bruins

6. 2015 Blackhawks

7. 2016 Penguins

8. 2012 Kings

9. 2019 Blues

10. 2010 Blackhawks

Zdeno Chara
Zdeno CharaAP

Best finals

1. 2011, Bruins over Canucks in seven

2. 2010, Blackhawks over Flyers in six

3. 2015, Blackhawks over Lightning in six

4. 2013, Blackhawks over Bruins in six

5. 2019, Blues over Bruins in seven

But best conference finals were better

1. 2014 West, Kings over Blackhawks in seven

2. 2017 East, Penguins over Senators in seven

3. 2015 East, Lightning over Rangers in seven

4. 2015 West, Blackhawks over Ducks in seven

5. 2016 East, Penguins over Lightning in seven

6. 2018 East, Caps over Lightning in seven

7. 2014 East, Rangers over Canadiens in six.

Greatest players

1. Sidney Crosby

2. Alex Ovechkin

3. Connor McDavid

4. Henrik Lundqvist

5. Erik Karlsson

6. Patrick Kane

7. Zdeno Chara

8. Duncan Keith

9. Drew Doughty

10. Evgeni Malkin

11. Patrice Bergeron

12. Steven Stamkos

Greatest games

1. Game 7 of the 2014 Western final, Kings 5, Blackhawks 4 in overtime in Chicago, goal scored by Alec Martinez, who would do something similar a few weeks later that would leave Lundqvist in tears. By the way, Game 5, in which Chicago, won in double overtime was probably just as good.

2. 2010 Olympic Final in Vancouver, Canada 3, USA 2, in which Crosby scored his golden goal at 7:40 of OT after Zach Parise tied it for the Yanks with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.

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3. 2016 World Cup opening-round game, Team North America 4, Team Sweden 3 in overtime.

4. Game 6 of the 2013 final, Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2 to win the Cup in Boston after the B’s had led 2-1 with 1:16 to play in the third period before Bryan Bickell scored at 18:44 to tie it and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds later at 19:01 to win it.

5. Game 7 of the 2013 first round, Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 4 in overtime after Toronto had led 4-1 with 9:18 remaining in regulation and 4-2 with 1:22 to play. Goals by Milan Lucic at 18:38 and Bergeron at 19:09 tied it before Bergeron’s winner at 6:05 of OT.

Yes, I know, the game between Sweden and the Young Guns was an essentially meaningless match played on a Wednesday afternoon in September. But it produced swatches of the most electrifying hockey that has ever been played, with the first period the fastest and most frenzied I have ever seen. There were six clear-cut breakaways against Team Sweden netminder Lundqvist, who stopped Johnny Gaudreau on a penalty shot at 0:56.

Off the ice

1. Owners’ Lockout III that reduced the 2012-13 season to 48 games, once and for all giving ownership of the game to the owners. A commissioner and a board that are willing to shut the league down for as long as it takes represents the sport’s best power play. Of course, the NHL managed to actually play all 10 seasons this decade, which hadn’t happened since the last century.

2. Akim Aliu and the reckoning that has accompanied the young man’s tale of abuse and racism.

3. The NHL’s unyielding stance against medical science and the connection among brain injuries, the neurodegenerative disease CTE and blows to the head.

4. Bowing out of the Olympics and giving up on international best-on-best tournaments.

5. The overdue exit of Don Cherry and his extreme brand of xenophobia.

6. Rule 48, adopted in 2010 and expanded thereafter to protect against blindside hits to the head.

7. The Vegas Golden Knights.

8. The return to Winnipeg in 2011.

9. The coach’s challenge and the dreaded offside video review.

And this, on the ice

The explosion of young talent.

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