On Saturday we learned that X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, has removed images and links from before 2013. It’s like the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the sudden loss of a rich cultural heritage, except for dumb jokes.
The destruction of the archive, plus the promised ending of the block feature, the paywalling of TweetDeck, the mass unbanning of racists, the explosion of bots, the degradation of the verified feature, suspicious rate-limiting, and like 35 other factors make it unlikely Twitter will remain a lively place for hockey discourse for much longer.
That’s a shame, as Hockey Twitter has been a blast. Let’s remember some of the best hockey tweets of all time.
Some of these tweets are unavailable now, lost in time like tears in rain, accessible only through the Internet Archive. For posterity’s sake, screenshots, alt text, and links are included.
In no particular order:
The Penguins stayed successful for so long despite rarely having a complete lineup. For a while, the best job in the league was being a $3 million guy who can finish, and ta-da now you’re taking shifts with Sidney Crosby.
Also, two very strong comedy names.
The NHL gets maybe one blockbuster trade a year – I’m thinking Karlsson this year, Tkachuk last year. Near the NBA deadline, those guys will crank out one globe-shattering deal a day for a solid week. Why is it that the job of an NHL general manager is so much harder than the same job in the NBA? It’s not; they’re just less creative.
Our only scatological entry. Playing from 2012 to 2017, California-born forward Etem did nothing to deserve this tweet.
By Jon Bois
A perennial springtime favorite, capturing the uncontrolled grease fire that is bonus time in the loffs.
by Phil Kessel
The reigning iron man and multiple-time Cup winner, Phil Kessel got left off the 2016 World Cup of Hockey roster for the USA. When the Americans got eliminated, Kessel got catty.
by Bob McKenzie
Two giant trades happened on June 29, 2016, and this was the funny one. The Edmonton Oilers had grown frustrated with Hall, their first overall pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, and decided to cut bait. In exchange they got Jersey’s fine defender Adam Larsson and…nothing else. McKenzie, a hockey insider, got as close as he’d ever get to criticizing the trade here.
Just for fun: since the trade Hall has contributed 83 goals above replacement. Larsson has contributed 8.
It’s just facts. The story about it being a bet made during the Covid bubble is just a smokescreen for Pasta spitting facts.
by Steve Simmons
Canada’s finest sportswriter was elated with Toronto’s first month of the 2013 season. Randy Carlyle’s Leafs went 9-4-0, leading the league, so Simmons was convinced they had proved that analytics (i.e. counting how many shots each team attempt) was a fraud. The Leafs immediately crashed and missed the playoffs, so every petty, analytics-inclined Twitter person celebrated.
This tweet has been deleted.
by David Staples
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples confusing a hand-washing station for a circular (?!) urinal is so funny, it is an exception to our no-accident-tweets rule. In Staples’ defense, I had the same confusion when I was eight.
This tweet has been deleted.
by Tony X
Tony liveblogged his first experience with hockey, the Blues’ game-seven win over the Bruins. Down multiple goals with just a few minutes left, Tuukka Rask headed to the bench to give his team an extra attacker. I like the way Tony put it.
by Allan Walsh
Marc-Andre Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, was unhappy with how his player was being treated by the Vegas Golden Knights, and specifically their coach, Pete DeBoer. So, naturally, and also productively, Walsh commissioned (?!) and then tweeted this wild painting of MAF getting stabbed through the back by a greatsword that looks a lot like the one Eddard Stark uses in Game of Thrones. Walsh soon deleted the tweet; Fleury was traded to Chicago the halfway into the next season.
by Dave Lozo
Wiser than the rest of us, Lozo left Twitter years ago, but his exclusive report on an extremely messy playoffs game between the Capitals and Penguins on May 2, 2017 remains available through the Wayback Machine. For background, Matt Niskanen and Alex Ovechkin combined to give Crosby a concussion early in the game. The Caps won in overtime (Shattenkirk, which no one remembers), and then Chris Kunitz accused the Caps of intentionally injuring his superstar teammate, then Pittsburgh reporter Rob Rossi interrogated Barry Trotz about the accusation. Lozo proved it was all true. Lozo’s tweet included a bunch of images, but here’s it all in text:
[Nick Backstrom screams in Swedish for 45 seconds]
Nick: So how do we beat these guys?
[A murmur fills the room] [Alex Ovechkin stands up]
Alex: We kill Sid.
[The entire room stands up and in unison chants “We kill Sid” for two minutes]
Tom Wilson: How do you want me to do it?
Nick Backstrom: No. That’s too obvious. It needs to be perfectly choreographed and preferably involve two of our most important players.
Tom Wilson: Are you sure? I can just run him from behind and when he’s down, I can take my skate off and-
[Matt Niskanen interjects] Me. I will do it. I will kill Sid.
Alex Ovechkin: No, let me do it.
Matt Niskanen: No, I will do it.
[that goes back and forth for a minute]
Nick Backstrom: What if you … both do it?
[Ovechkin and Niskanen high five]
Matt Niskanen: So should I do it after we get a lead? Or late in the game when we’re about to win? So we don’t cost ourselves the game?
Nick Backstrom: No. Do it early in the game. When it’s 0-0. And get yourself a major penalty. And get yourself ejected too.
Matt Niskanen: I’m gonna be honest, that doesn’t make much sense. If they get a five-minute power play, they could score three times and—
[Ovechkin breaks his stick over his locker]
Alex Ovechkin: There’s one hole in this genius plan, Nicky.
Nick Backstrom: What, Alex?
Alex Ovechkin: We’d have to play the final 50 minutes with only five defensemen and you know what that means.
[Ovechkin’s eyes strain toward Brooks Orpik]
[Ovechkin gestures toward Orpik with his thumb]
[Backstrom nods and winks]
Brooks Orpik: You guys know I can see you, right?
Nick Backstrom: So what do we do? Alex is right. There’s simply no good way to kill Sid. I’m glad we used our postgame players-only meeting to discuss intentionally injuring Sid though. This is really happening. But playing with five D would be too much for us to handle. So I guess we will have to find another way.
[Barry Trotz kicks down the door and walks into the room with his arm around Karl Alzner]
Barry Trotz: Did someone say they need an extra defenseman?
[The room roars in delight]
[Chants of “We Kill Sid” fill the room]
Finally, the tweet that for me captures the spirit of talking sports online. I could write a book about this topic and do no better than ATF did in three sentences.
I have no idea what will happen to Twitter next, besides getting progressively worse. Our policy at RMNB is wait-and-see. We’re on a bunch of other platforms though. We post on Threads, Instagram, and Facebook right now, and we’ll evaluate others in due time.
If you’ve got some more all-time great tweets, please share them below. I’ve got a few runners-up already.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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