It's Christmas, and that means ugly sweaters, boring parties, and buying presents for people you don't really care about.
Assuming the Mayas were wrong (and if they were right about predicting the future, then there'd still be Mayas), Christmas is less than a week away.
If you're like me, you've put off buying presents for friends and family until the last minute because, really, what's a holiday without the exhilarating fear of shopping 3 days before Christmas?
This year, I was smart and had my wife do all my shopping for me. However, here it is December 20 and I totally forgot about a group of people who used to be a huge part of my life but I have overlooked: the Red Wings. Given the fact that most of them are scattered around the globe at the moment, I don't think I'm going to be able to have the items shipped to each of the players in time. However, I wanted to let them know (since they read everything I write) that I am thinking of them and what to expect from me once I get around to actually purchasing and sending their gifts.
Niklas Kronwall: the best noise-cancelling headphones money can buy. You're going to need them to block out all the people reminding you that you're not as good as Nicklas Lidstrom, which you know is going to happen whether you like it or not.
Mikael Samuelsson: a pair of those blinders that they put on horses, so that when you wind up to take a shot the only thing you'll be able to see is the net and you'll be less inclined to send pucks into the crowd. Besides, the NHL is poor and can't afford to just give those things away.
Patrick Eaves: nothing except good health so you can get in the lineup once hockey comes back.
Drew Miller: a killer fake ID so that you can "prove" how old you look when you go for all those senior discounts over in Scotland.
Johan Franzen: a calendar that only contains the months of April, May and June.
Jordin Tootoo: a whistle that plays the Joe's goal horn when you blow it. It's about time that something pleasant-sounding was associated with your hockey career. I mean, you finally have a good-looking jersey to wear; why stop at only pleasing one sense?
Ian White: a muzzle. Seriously, just stop talking, ok?
Jimmy Howard: a cloning device so that you can make 1 or 2 Lidstroms, just in case this whole "new defense" thing doesn't work out.
Pavel Datsyuk: the ability to freeze the aging process so that we can have you for the 2 years that will be robbed of your career. I'm not sure if this technology is available or even being worked on, but if I do get this, you have to leave a little bit for Nicklas Lidstrom; I'm not ready to say good bye just yet.
Todd Bertuzzi: more pictures of Ken Holland in a compromising position. I say "more" because clearly you already have a bunch; how else do you keep getting 2-year contracts?
Gustav Nyquist: a birth certificate that says you're 26 so that you'll get the ice time you deserve despite the fact you haven't "developed" enough in Grand Rapids.
Jonathan Ericsson: a clue.
Henrik Zetterberg: nothing. Seriously, the man is an amazing hockey player, has the beard of a god, and is married to a Swedish bikini model. Clearly he already has everything anyone could ever need. Well, maybe a new hat.
Mike Ilitch: a magazine that shows what 21st Century haircuts actually look like.
Mike Babcock: a 1-year membership at your local Brunswick Zone, retroactive to September 15.
Ken Holland: a copy of NHL 94, the greatest hockey game ever designed. Relive the memories of a league without a salary cap.
To any players that I missed, I apologize, but either I couldn't think of anything to get you and/or you just don't matter enough for me to buy you anything. On a personal note, I would like to thank the NHL for the gift of free time and extra money this year. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to buy so many nice presents for my children or spend all this quality time with my family. I guess this lockout isn't so bad after all.