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Short Shifts

'Gloria,' Jim vs. Pam and much more: The Top 10 Viral Stories of 2019

Blues Cup run highlights funniest, favorite, most heartwarming moments of the year

by Dan O'Leary and Pat Pickens @DanOLeary25, @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writers

From the St. Louis Blues' historic turnaround to some celebrity fans mixing it up to some outrageous goals and more outrageous celebrations, 2019 was a wild one, filled with moments that burned up social media accounts everywhere.

Short Shifts takes a look at our Top 10 viral stories from the year, including a few honorable mentions.


1. Play Gloria!

The St. Louis Blues went from the worst team in the NHL to Stanley Cup champions in a matter of months and they did it all to the sweet soundtrack of Laura Branigan's 1982 smash hit "Gloria."

It's kind of a long story. But from Blues fans making a pilgrimage to the Philadelphia bar where it started to Branigan's manager, who is preserving the singer's legacy posthumosly, "Gloria" and the Blues were everywhere in 2019.

But it's not the only thing that inspired the team along the way. The journey of then-11-year-old Laila Anderson, a Blues superfan who has battled a rare inflammatory disease known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, went everywhere with the team: at games, at events and even at the victory parade. And she's back at games again this season.

And yes, Laila got a ring. And yes, the rings said "Play Gloria" on them.


2. Jim and Pam, Frienemies Forever

You hate to see an imaginary couple bickering, but that's how it went down during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

Actors Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski, most famously known as Pam Beesly and Jim Halpert from the long-running sitcom "The Office," were in an all-out feud during the series between the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.

Fischer, a native of St. Louis, obviously was pulling for the Blues. Krasinski, from Boston, is a big-time Bruins fan. Things got chippy, fake TV ex-fiances got involved (we saw you, Roy!), it was tough.

Steve Carrell, who played the couple's boss on the show, is from Concord, Massachusetts and got in the mix showing his allegience to the Bruins.

As usually happens in a TV sitcom marriage,the wife got the last laugh and boy did she enjoy it.


3. Capitals celebrate Nationals

The Washington Nationals had some big skates to fill after winning baseball's World Series in 2019. The 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals partied like few have before, so it made sense for the two squads to get together and celebrate.

Come for the shirtless Zamboni ride, stay for the locker room karaoke.

Video: CGY@WSH: Washington Nationals take in Capitals game


4. Re-Lax, Svech

Andrei Svechnikov did something the NHL never had seen when he scored a lacrosse-style goal. Then he did it again.

The Carolina Hurricanes forward first wowed everyone when he picked up the puck and tucked it in the net against the Calgary Flames in October. Less than two months later, he did it again against the Winnipeg Jets.

We can only imagine what Svechnikov's got in store for us in 2020.


5. Price Lends Helping Hand

Some things are bigger than hockey, like Carey Price's relationship with Anderson Whitehead.

Price first met Whitehead in February in Toronto after the 11-year-old's mom died of cancer last year. The Canadiens goalie offered a warm hug and some kind words to a kid who needed it.

At the 2019 NHL Awards, Price handed Whitehead some big-time gifts, including a trip to the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. He also got him tickets to another game in Toronto this season.

Video: Price reunites with young fan at NHL Awards


6. Boro-Cop

Some players rest or sight-see on their days off on the road. Mark Borowiecki saved the day during his in Vancouver in December.

The Senators defenseman helped stop a robbery during Ottawa's road trip in Western Canada in December by knocking a man off his bike after he'd broken into and stolen a backpack from a car in the Vancouver's Gastown District.


7. The Mite Stuff

Jackson Friedlander reminded us of the most important lesson in October.

After scoring twice, and being named Mite of the Nite during the Washington Capitals game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Friedlander gave maybe the greatest post-game interview ever where he discussed his favorite Capitals player and of course his tarantula Michael.

His interview was so good it piqued Kelly Clarkson's interest, and Friedlander made a surprise appearance on her talk show Dec. 11.


8. Rooks for the Books

This offseason it was hard not to be excited about the top two NHL draft prospects, Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils and Kaapo Kakko of the New York Rangers.

The debate about who will end up being a better player is ongoing, of course, but in the meantime, the two rookies did everything they could to endear themselves to their respective fan bases.

Hughes gave out a jersey to a fan who had one custom made with what would turn out to be the wrong number while "working" at the team store in Prudential Center. Kakko would deliver his jersey personally to a fan who couldn't wait to get his in the mail.


9. Ice Moonwalk

Sam Tracy's celebration was so good, he had to teach it to some San Jose Sharks.

The youth hockey player captured the heart of the internet by doing the moonwalk after scoring in a shootout competition during the first intermission of the San Jose Sharks game against the New York Islanders.

Tracy's moves were so good that Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier took notice and invited him to Sharks practice for a tutorial.

Here's hope we'll get more Sam Tracy, and more dancing goal celebrations, in 2020.


10. Power Couple

Cheers to one of the most athletic relationships on Earth. Devils defenseman P.K. Subban and Olympic champion skiier Lindsey Vonn announced their engagement in August.

It was all part of a whirlwind offseason for Subban, which saw him traded to the Devils after spending three seasons in Nashville. Subban, as he does, adjusted quickly and even mixed it up with new division rival Gritty.


Honrable Mentions

- 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Relly wasn't exactly nervous on the eve of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. He was chilling out in a music store and ended up buying a young Bruins fan a guitar.

- A save is a save, right? World class soccer goalie Petr Cech moved to hockey this year, honored Dominik Hasek on his mask and then went out and won his debut.

- Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, one of hockey's funniest personalities, retired after 19 seasons in a way that only he could

- This year wasn't without controversy, and social media lit up when Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Letestu chugged a mustard packet on the bench during a preseason game. Some were disgusted, some touted the virtues of mustard to prevent cramping. It was a whole thing.

- Who needs Elvis when you have Ryan Reaves? A Las Vegas couple renewed their wedding vows with ordained minister Reavo presiding of the ceremony.

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