I’m not one of those last-minute shoppers who waits till the final day to cram in purchasing those thoughtful gifts. I get ‘er done early.
Here’s my Christmas list for some of the people we cover.
Kyle Wellwood – A penalty, because it has been almost three calendar years, a span of more than 130 games going back to his rookie year with the Maple Leafs, since the Vancouver center picked up a penalty of any kind.
Maxim Afinogenov – I’d like to get you some of that reckless skating abandon you had on the ice in 2005-06 when you had 73 points in 77 games. One goal in 25 games just isn’t right. Maybe a change of scenery would be a better present.
Rod Brind’Amour – Here’s some negative energy, but with a purpose. My writing mentor always taught me that two negatives equal a positive. So I thought some spewing vitriolic energy together with your league-worst minus-21 would produce a positively fabulous present.
Martin Hanzal – Things are looking pretty grim for the future of the Coyotes franchise in Phoenix, so I’m getting the 21-year-old Czech a copy of the Grimm Brothers’ adaptation of Hansel and Gretzel, so he can better understand his boss behind the bench.
Todd Bertuzzi – Some balance. And no, not in your personal life. We don’t need to go there. I’m talking about your stats. First you start the season with six straight goals without an assist. Now you’re on a streak of 13 straight assists without a goal. Problem is, that’s 17 games without a goal.
Joe Sakic – A casual laborer in your neighborhood with a snowblower. It would be a shame if the best wrist shot in the game had to go down this way.
Rob Schremp – As nasty as this sounds, an apartment in Edmonton. You’ve paid your dues on the farm. It’s time for the Oilers to give you an extended opportunity in the NHL and it’s nice to see you’re off to a good start.
Shane Doan – I’m doffing my favorite cap for you. I can’t imagine another proven goal-scorer who has managed to play 900-plus NHL games without a hat trick. Petr Sykora recently put that behind him, you’re next.
Mark Bell – How about another shot in the big leagues. Twenty-eight is just too young to call it a career in the NHL, especially the way yours ended.
Devin Setoguchi – Selfishly, your gift is an extended eastern road trip with your Sharks. I’m dying to see you play again this season, but those 10 p.m. starts are murder for us 6 a.m. risers.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can find his blog each weekend.
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