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Gifts for the good boys and girls around the NHL

Tuesday, 12.23.2008 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

By Chuck Gormley - NHL.com Correspondent

Dear Santa,

I know you’re getting this letter a little late this year, but I’ve been up late almost every night watching the NHL Network and I’m just now putting pen to paper.

My wish list is a little long and some items might be as scarce as a Wii game system. I understand your sack couldn’t possibly fit every one of my requests, but I promise that if I find some of these awesome gifts under my tree, I’ll spread good cheer from Sunrise, Fla., to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Well, I know you’re a busy man these days, so I’ll get right to it:

* Season tickets to the Boston Bruins. (I knew that with a healthy Patrice Bergeron in the lineup they’d be good, but I never thought Phil Kessel, David Krejci and Blake Wheeler could be this good.

P.S. Make Bergeron better real soon. (He’s too young and talented to have his career shortened by concussions.)

* Autographed sticks from Mikhail Grabovski, Blake Wheeler, Alex Goligoski and Steven Stamkos. (They belong to the best young players in the East and in 10 years they’ll be a lot more valuable than my Pok’e Mon cards.)

* A bright orange Jeff Carter jersey. (OK, so the color is a little loud and makes me think of my hippie daze … days, but this third-year Flyer is on pace for 60 goals. That hasn’t happened in Philly since Reggie “The Rifle” Leach.)

* A healthy Rick DiPietro. (Joey MacDonald is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but the folks on Long Island deserve to see the most talented goalie in the East on a nightly basis. While you’re at it, can you drop a new state-of-the-art arena as you’re passing over Uniondale?)

* Twenty-nine more Alex Ovechkins … please? (It’s just not fair that only the fans in D.C. can wind him up and watch him play. Every NHL city should have one of these fast-skating, rapid-shooting, hard-hitting, windmill-churning action figures.)

* Snow in Chicago on New Year’s Day. (It would take a Hollywood script writer to top last year’s Winter Classic, but can you picture Patrick Kane skating through the wind and snow to score an overtime game-winner in Wrigley Field? Priceless.)

* Some balanced scoring in Ottawa. (They’ve tried changing general managers and coaches, but maybe it’s time to break up the Senators’ three amigos and see what Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza can do on three different lines.)

* A little more love in Philly, Anaheim and Vancouver. (Duking it out for the NHL lead in fighting majors, the Flyers, Ducks and Canucks had combined for 111 fights with three days remaining until Christmas. That’s a whole lot of black eyes.)

* A Jason Blake spin-a-rama action figure. (Those things are so cool! Twirl a rubber band around his waist, pull back and see him pirouette down the ice before depositing a shot past a screened goaltender in a shootout. Brilliant!)

* A lacrosse-style goal. (Blake’s creativity should get the juices flowing and turn the shootout into the equivalent of a slam-dunk competition. It’s only a matter of time until we see a puck whipped into the net from waist level.)

* A healthy Martin Brodeur (The Devils have kept pace in the East with smoke, mirrors and Scott Clemmensen, but the world is waiting for "Marty The Great" to pass Patrick Roy and earn his rightful place as the winningest goalie ever.)

* A new home for the dynamic duo. (I love the old Igloo, but Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby deserve a new crib and so do those devoted fans in Pittsburgh.)

* Matching masks for Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas. (The Bruins goalies are so good it’s hard to tell which one is between the pipes. Neither has lost more than three games this season and both are in double digits in wins.)

* A hefty fine for those pick-pocketers in Philly. (Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne each have four shorthanded goals and with 13 shorties the Flyers are threatening to break Edmonton’s record of 36 set in 1983-84.)

* Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Sean Avery. (OK, now that may be asking a lot. But if you can achieve the Peace on Earth part we’d all be happy.)

Thanks, Santa

And have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday