By Daniel Friedman
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This year was packed with memorable sports moments, particularly in the New York/New Jersey area.
Here are my picks for the top 10 of 2014:
10. Thierry Henry Leaves Red Bulls For Retirement
9. Lou Lamoriello Returns To Devils Bench
Rather than hire a replacement for the fired Peter DeBoer, Lamoriello opted to join two other assistant coaches to jointly direct the on-ice production. Some believe this is a sign that Lamoriello intends to step down from the Devils organization at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, and I happen to be in that school of thought.
8. Odell Beckham Jr. Arrives
“The Catch” was only a small fragment of what turned out to be an outstanding year for OBJ, though it certainly accelerated his rise to prominence in the public sphere. He’s gonna be a good one for a long time.
7. Jacob DeGrom Wins NL Rookie Of The Year
Yet another reminder that the Mets aren’t far from off from being competitive again. DeGrom solidified his place in what figures to be quite a formidable pitching staff for years to come by dominating on the mound.
6. Jason Kidd Bolts For Milwaukee
Yeesh, was this episode ugly. Kidd went from hero to zero among Nets fans by essentially forcing his way out.
5. Jets Fire Rex Ryan, John Idzik
On Monday morning, the Jets decided to begin anew by letting go of their head coach and GM. It’s a fresh start for an organization that seriously needs one.
4. Phil Jackson Era Begins
Triangle offense, Derek Fisher, a new contract for Carmelo Anthony and tons of losses. At least, those have been the results so far. Jackson has preached patience, and we’ll see if he delivers.
3. Islanders Get New Owners, New Life
Charles Wang agreed to sell the team to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin, while GM Garth Snow made splashes to bolster the on-ice product, bringing about goaltender Jaroslav Halak, and defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, among others. The Isles are now tied for first place in their division.
2. Rangers Face LA For Stanley Cup
The Blueshirts were already having a good year, but the trade for Martin St. Louis really gave them the missing puzzle piece to make a championship run. They lost to the Kings in five games, but the Rangers have NYC talking about hockey again, and that’s really nice to see.
1. Derek Jeter Retires
The final piece of the dynasty’s core to hang up his cleats, Jeter went out with a bang, recording the game-winning hit in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium. The last hit of his career was an RBI knock in Boston. It’s going to be very strange watching the Yankees without No. 2 in the lineup.
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