The Top 10 New York Sports Stories of 2012: Nos. 10-6

12/31/2012 9:25 AM ET
By Staff

The Brooklyn Nets' summer free agent splurge comes in at No. 6 on our list.(AP)
The year 2012 is hours away from being over, which means that it’s time for the “Best of” lists to begin appearing everywhere in earnest – and is no exception.

Myriad huge sports stories – whether they be good, bad, astounding or expected – happened in the New York metropolitan area over the last 366 days, and it was very tough to narrow it down to less than a dozen.

In doing so, we decided to stick solely to the four major professional sports; while the rise and fall of the Big East, MSG being named as an NCAA Tournament host in 2014, and the movement to bring MLS to Queens have all affected the landscape, none of those have, at least yet, either fully come to fruition or come to any definite conclusion. Likewise, while the NHL lockout as a whole is a huge sports story nationwide, we decided to shy away from it simply because it’s one that may still be resolved.

So, after a lot of staff deliberation, it was these 10 that were, whether good, bad, astounding, or expected, deemed to be the biggest moments on the Gotham sports front in 2012. Today, we bring you moments 10-6 on the countdown, with the Top 5 coming on Tuesday.

No. 10: The Islanders move to Brooklyn
It won’t be effective until 2015, but the New York Islanders are leaving Nassau Coliseum behind for a new start in the Barclays Center. The new arena at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues has already become a premier venue for NYC events, and the addition of the NHL adds at least 41 more dates where the world will know exactly “where Brooklyn at.”

No. 9: Citi Field gets the 2013 MLB All-Star Game
In 2008, the final season for both Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium, it was the latter that hosted the MLB All-Star Game as a sendoff for a venerable venue. Five years later, the Mid-Summer Classic returns to the Big Apple, and it will be the new building in Queens that gets this generation’s first crack at hosting the festivities. When it does, at least one player from its usual team will try to help the National League extend what is now a three-year winning streak in the game.

No. 8: Devils and Rangers clash in NHL Eastern Conference Finals
Nearly two decades after the epic 1994 Rangers-Devils series ended with the Blueshirts route to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals once again made NYC the focus of the hockey world. This time, however, it was Martin Brodeur – who was a rookie in that 1994 battle – and New Jersey who came out on top and earned the right to face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

No. 7: Andy Pettitte returns
After signing Hiroki Kuroda and acquiring Michael Pineda on the same day in January, the Yankees’ 2012 rotation looked like a solid five. That went into flux once Pineda was injured (and eventually lost for the season) – but on March 16, that flux was settled when the Yankees shockingly announced that Andy Pettitte had decided to end his one-year retirement, agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. The lefty returned in May, and went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts despite missing nearly three months with a fractured ankle – but that may have been a blessing in disguise, as the low workload was one of the reasons Pettitte cited for keeping him fired up and wanting to come back once again when he signed a one-year, $12 million deal for 2013 back in November.

No. 6: Brooklyn’s summer splurge
Even before they ever played a game, the Brooklyn Nets were the talk of the NBA. When NBA free agency opened on July 1, Nets GM Billy King made a big splash, re-signing Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez and acquiring six-time All-Star Joe Johnson from Atlanta – a series of moves that proved that after a few dark years at the end of the New Jersey era, the Brooklyn Nets were going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2012-13 and beyond. Later in the month, the team added reserves Jerry Stackhouse, C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans, and Josh Childress, lured Mirza Teletovic from Spain with a three-year deal, and re-inked Keith Bogans as well to fill out a formidable roster.

Check back on Wednesday as we reveal the Top 5 New York Sports Stories of 2012. comments