One of the things I love most about this time of year are the movies. I enjoy parking myself on the couch with my family, blowing the steam off my hot cocoa while watching other people learn the meaning of Christmas in different ways. I've seen just about every movie there is, including the ones for kids. Having two small children means I've watched, on average, 100 movies a week since the first of December (if you count repeats). Now while I enjoy most of the movies (Frosty Returns leaves a lot to be desired), I think I may be on the verge of overload. It seems that all I watch lately are Red Wing games and Christmas movies, and I'm pretty sure it's screwed up my brain.
You know how I know this? Because my dreams are starting to become really weird, where the Wings and Christmas movies are "mashing up" and becoming one. I think I should be worried about my singular focus these days. Do I have a legitimate concern? Follow me after the jump and let me know.
I don't think I have a single favourite Christmas movie. Each of them has a special place in my heart for different reasons. Some of them are funny, some make me think, while others just make me feel good and fill me with the spirit of the season. However, when combined with the Red Wings, they make for some interesting dreams.
One such dream was a few nights ago. I was a lawyer, standing in the middle of a packed courtroom. I was arguing with another attorney about the Red Wings. The prosecution was trying to say that they were not the greatest franchise of the last 20 years, and I disagreed. The judge had asked for "authoritative" proof of my contention. While I was pondering how I could possibly prove that what I believed was true, I had an epiphany: Stanley Cups. I walked up to the judge and showed him the Cup the Wings won in 2008. The judge needed further convincing, saying the Hurricanes won a Cup, as did the Lightning, and one Cup was not proof enough, so I had the bailiffs bring in the Cups from 1997, 1998 and 2002. After fighting to find his gavel, the judge declared that the Red Wings were indeed the greatest franchise of the last 20 years, and all was right with the world.
Another time I was dreaming that I was an 8 year old boy and my parents had gone to Europe without me (the jerks). I was just trying to have a nice Christmas, but two robbers were trying to steal that which was most precious to me: the Stanley Cup. Instead of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, the robbers were Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton. They called themselves the Icy Bandits. Thankfully, I was able to prevent them from getting their hands on the Cup by putting different obstacles in their way. To stop Getzlaf, I put hair brushes and combs all over the place, confusing him. For Thornton, I simply told him that in order to get the Cup, he had to think of my house as the playoffs: he got to the second level before he inexplicably gave himself up.
Some of my dreams are a little weird. There was this one where Colin Campbell was covered in green fur, and he was standing up in his cave, looking down on NHL fans. He motioned to his dog (who looked strangely like Stephen Walkom) that he was going to ruin Christmas for the fans, and he'd do so by being completely inconsistent with his discipline. Then his son scored an actual goal, and his heart grew half a size.
Not all of my dreams are good ones: I've had a few nightmares. In one of them, I'm Stan Bowman, and I've just been kicked off of Santa's lap and am halfway down the slide in a pink bunny suit. I had forgotten what I wanted for Christmas, but as I was sliding toward a comfy landing in fake snow, I realized what it was I wanted to ask him for. I catch myself on the slide, turn around and force myself up. With force in my voice, I yell out "Wait! I remember. For Christmas I want Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Antti Niemi, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, John Madden, and Adam Burish!". I thought my dad would be so proud, until Santa uttered those words that no kid-acting-as-a-GM wants to hear: "You'll be over the salary cap, kid". Then his stinky foot pushed me down the slide, and the whole way down I kept hearing "one and done" over and over in my head.
Suddenly, the scene changes. I'm standing on a bridge, and it's snowing like crazy. I'm a little confused. I can't remember a lot, but for some reason, I remember thinking that I wished I never loved the Red Wings, although I can't exactly remember why. Then a weird guy in a robe said that he could make that happen, and I would see what life was like as a non-Red Wing fan. I stumbled to my local establishment to get a beverage that would calm my nerves. I walked in and sat down. I was used to Wing memorabilia all over the walls, but there was something different about this place: everything was blue and white, there were leaves on the walls, and the customers had sad looks on their faces. As I sat down and ordered my drink, I looked up at the championship banners hanging from the ceiling. I asked the bartender where the ones were for the Cups after the 1967. He looked at me quizzically, as if I had lost my mind. He put down the glass he was cleaning, and said "what Cups after 1967?" The only sound that I could hear was the screaming in my head: "NOOOOOOOOOOO!". I ran out of the bar and into town. I got into the middle of the town square, and I stopped to look around. For some reason, every single address had the number 87 in it, and the locals were all sporting the tiniest bit of facial hair above their upper lip. I wouldn't have called them mustaches: it was like they were all 9 years old and their peach fuzz had darkened. I got to the town sign, and instead of it saying "Welcome to Hockeytown", the sign read "You're in Bettmanburgh: Population 87". This couldn't be right, could it? How could I turn my back on the Wings? Is this what life was like as a non-Wing fan? How horrible.
Thankfully, I immediately woke up from this nightmare and realized that all was right with the world. I spent the entire next day watching DVDs of the Wings' Stanley Cup Championships. As I was watching Darren McCarty undress Janne Niinimiaa for the 1000th time, my oldest daughter looked at me. She said "Daddy, Mickey says that when the goal horn at the Joe sounds, a Red Wing fan is born". I looked at her, a tear rolling down my cheek, and said "That's right, that's right".