In the spirit of the holidays the following is a list illuminating exactly the types of issues and concerns the teams of the NHL will be preoccupied with over this winter break.
Christmas wish: Market demand for a disgruntled, overpaid backup goalie.
New Year’s resolution: Outside of the top line, build a team around players not annually contemplating retirement.
Christmas wish: To be considered a legitimate cup contender. (It’s a wish so it can be ludicrous and nonsensical)
New Year’s resolution: If Kovalchuk hasn’t signed yet find out if it’s possible to make him double captain.
Christmas wish: Courtesy of Brian Burke, finish the season with both 1st and 30th overall draft picks.
New Year’s resolution: Mandatory protective gear for anyone sitting next to Cam Neely during a goal celebration.
Christmas wish: Have Ryan Miller play every minute of every game for the remainder of the season without any sign of fatigue.
New Year’s resolution: In an effort to curb recession woes get Patrick Lalime to rip tickets before games.
Christmas wish: That the biggest news coming out of Flames nation this year won’t be Theoren Fleury’s autobiography.
New Year’s resolution: Start promoting battle of Alberta games by advertising guest appearances by Elisha Cuthbert and Hilary Duff.
Christmas wish: Instructional video for Eric Staal, “How to play without the puck.”
New Year’s resolution: Acknowledge the rope-a-dope strategy is not an effective way to secure a playoff spot.
Christmas wish: About $15 million extra cap space, about four months ago.
New Year’s resolution: Send Brent Sopel a “thanks for the memories” card after he awakes from being drugged and dropped off in Toronto.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Christmas wish: Hypnotism, experimental drugs, black magic — whatever it takes to get Steve Mason back in Calder form.
New Year’s resolution: Promise fans their team won’t be bounced in the first round by the Red Wings. Don’t mention this year it might be San Jose or Chicago.
Christmas wish: Marek Svatos, Milan Hejduk and Wojtek Wolski to merge Voltron style into one elite winger.
New Year’s resolution: Switch the calendar back to October. Then never change it.
Christmas wish: That Brad Richards’ production won’t diminish after the team Canada rosters are announced.
New Year’s resolution: Consider it a return to form if by the end of the year Marty Turco’s numbers are at least one notch above embarrassing.
Detroit Red Wings
Christmas wish: A starting goaltender willing to be paid under the table.
New Year’s resolution: Stop drunk dialing Jiri Hudler and Marian Hossa.
Christmas wish: Cold, hard revenge on the Kings’ Michal Handzus for taking out Ales Hemsky. Not sure what style yet but thinking ninja assassin.
New Year’s resolution: Quit pinching each other. It is not a dream; Dustin Penner is the best forward on the team.
Christmas wish: David Booth’s two front teeth.
New Year’s resolution: Try to act surprised when once again the team misses the playoffs by only a handful of points.
Los Angeles Kings
Christmas wish: For Anze Kopitar to become the best ever Slovenian-born hockey player. No really, that’s better than it sounds.
New Year’s resolution: Prepare for the first playoff appearance in over eight years. Fight the natural urge to play golf in April.
Christmas wish: A mulligan on the off-season free agent signings.
New Year’s resolution: Remind Martin Havlat that the pre-season did in fact end months ago.
Christmas wish: Vincent Lecavalier, either descending from the heavens or floating down river in a wicker basket.
New Year’s resolution: Inquire about the return policy for Scott Gomez.
Christmas wish: To win at least one playoff round before the team is eventually relocated.
New Year’s resolution: Rethink logo: “Because when you think hockey, you think Tennessee!”
New Jersey Devils
Christmas wish: Another few records for Brodeur to break. He needs to keep busy somehow.
New Year’s resolution: Stop trying to pencil Zach Parise onto the first, second, third and fourth lines.
New York Islanders
Christmas wish: A CBA loophole for skipping out on outrageously disastrous 15-year contracts.
New Year’s resolution: Wait at least another few months before giving Tavares the captaincy.
New York Rangers
Christmas wish: A Franciscan vow of silence for both Sean Avery and John Tortorella.
New Year’s resolution: Replace Marian Gaborik’s bones with Wolverine-style adamantium.
Christmas wish: For fans to be excited about this season’s big off-season free agent signing: Chris Neil.
New Year’s resolution: At least on weekends, stop burning effigies of Dany Heatley.
Christmas wish: Anything greater than an IOU in exchange for season tickets. Balls of lint will suffice.
New Year’s resolution: When the team leaves Phoenix, just air games from a few years ago. No one will know the difference.
Christmas wish: That Chris Pronger’s wife thinks Philly is a suitable enough city by year’s end.
New Year’s resolution: Remain optimistic that Ray Emery won’t attack any of the Flyers’ staff until after the playoffs.
Christmas wish: A box of Gillette Fusion razors for Sidney Crosby with sign that reads, “Save for the playoffs.”
New Year’s resolution: Investigate reports that Michel Therrien has been spotted lurching in the rafters of Mellon arena wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask.
San Jose Sharks
Christmas wish: First round playoff bye for teams that win their conference.
New Year’s resolution: Stop prank-calling Brian Murray to ask how he’s enjoying Jonathan Cheechoo in Ottawa.
St. Louis Blues
Christmas wish: That a 35-year-old coming off hip surgery can help revitalize a slumping offense.
New Year’s resolution: Relax and enjoy the fact that in the last four years, the team that employs Ty Conklin either goes to the Stanley Cup Finals, or partakes in an outdoor game.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Christmas wish: New owner. Just one though.
New Year’s resolution: Give up the ghost, admit there is no such thing as a Florida rivalry.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Christmas wish: A suitable distraction for next year’s continual failure. All-Star game, entry draft and Winter Classic should just about do it.
New Year’s resolution: Employ the George Costanza “do the exact opposite” strategy for all decisions on and off ice.
Christmas wish: For Sami Salo to go the rest of the season injury free. Actually screw it, that’s impossible, just keep the twins healthy.
New Year’s resolution: Send invoice to Mats Sundin for failing to show up after last year’s contract signing. Perhaps file missing persons report.
Christmas wish: Book of crossword puzzles to keep Jose Theodore busy on the bench.
New Year’s resolution: Keep shelves stocked with anti-depressants for next time Ovechkin is injured.