As I actually have Christmas off for the first time in a few years, I figured I would pick up some extra work and help out the jolly fat man in giving gifts to the New York Rangers. Some have been naughty, some have been nice some didn't get the message last year so I am giving them the same thing twice ...
Blair Betts: An A for his sweater. After quietly contributing on the penalty kill since coming to the Rangers, Bettsy has maintained his defensive acumen while consistently attacking the net this season and leading by example.
Ryan Callahan: How about the nickname "Beeker"? Pat Verbeek retired as the only NHL player with 500 goals and 1,500 penalty minutes - I think Cally can do the same. He has shown the scoring touch, he just needs a little more grit to go with that moxie.
Nigel Dawes: This is a tough one. If you asked two weeks ago, I would say a new team to play for but he really has revived his game since then. Perhaps his gift should be consistency?
Chris Drury: The ability to score on a breakaway. Dru has blown at least six breakaway opportunities that I recall so far this season ...
Brandon Dubinsky: Some tapes of a young Jason Arnott so he can see how a big, strong pivot with good hands can grow first into an All Star, then into a Stanley Cup Champion.
Dan Fritsche: A lecture from Eddie O or Mike Hartman or any of the other 1994 Black Aces on how to handle being on the practice squad and stepping up when his number is called.
Scott Gomez: This t-shirt and a jersey without an A on the shoulder.
Lauri Korpikoski: More ice time. This kid has the skill to be a solid NHL player, he just needs a chance to gain the experience needed to go with it.
Markus Naslund: Some chemistry with Drury (or Gomez). Naslund has showed that he still has gas left in the tank, noe he just needs to find the same comfort level with a center that he had with Brendan Morrison.
Colton Orr: Power play time. Colt has shown he is willing to work, that he is willing to pay the price to battle around the crease. Now the Rangers needs to let him do it more often.
Petr Prucha: A chance to be a regular NHLer. Prucha's three game stint earlier this month showed that even Tom Renney's coaching couldn't quench his desire to play and he should be allowed to - even if it is not in New York.
Fredrik Sjostrom: Someone to translate his website into english. Freddie seems to have a ton of personality, it would be nice for the fans to see it.
Aaron Voros: A nice Christmas greeting from his pal Mike Smith and some raw meat to keep in his fridge for the next time he gets his face beaten in.
Nikolai Zherdev: Some quality time with his fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin. Hopefully AO's passion to play will rub off on Z because we've seen that he has almost the same level of skill (start at the 1:40 mark and forgive the music).
Dan Girardi: A new defensive partner. Girardi was perfectly complimented by Fedor Tyutin last season. Despite playing most of the 37 games alongside Wade Redden, he has had absolutely no chemistry with the former Senator and his play has clearly suffered.
Dmitri Kalinin: A plane ticket back to Russia. A KHL team will be thankful to add a player of his 'calibur' and won't notice his complete lack of edge, effort and enthusiasm.
Paul Mara: More shooting lanes. Mara has arguably been the most consistent defenseman on the team but he needs to get that heavy shot of his on net more often.
Corey Potter: A chance to prove himself. While many hardcore fans think that he is the solution to the Ranger defensive woes, he is just a kid. Let him play and let him show what he can do.
Wade Redden: Some heart. Jaromir Jagr got the Tim Man treatment last year and Redden is a fitting recipient this time around. If he had some (any) heart, he would actually skate hard and maybe, maybe justify some of his $6.5 million contract. The only way he would justify all of it would be to play like Bobby Orr or Nik Lidstrom and that isn't going to happen, but something is more than nothing.
Michal Rozsival: The same thing as last year - a pack of Post-Its to remind him to play defense. Rozy has had three moments this season that I recalled where he made strong defensive plays so he has it in him, he just needs to remember to do it all of the time.
Marc Staal: A Rod Langway Award. So far this season he has been the best defensive defenseman in the league and deserves some recognition as such.
Henrik Lundqvist: Three new defensemen in front of him, preferably ones who actually will protect the crease and not turn the puck over so much ...
Stephen Valiquette: Continued success against Philadelphia. The Rangers play the Flyers five times down the stretch and will need Vally to continue to stand tall and squash the orange attack.
Tom Renney: Last year it was a whip because he had to "force the team to buy into his game plan." This year it is a Zippo. He needs something to get this team afire ...
Benoit Allaire: More time in Hartford. Miika Wiikman looked like he had the skill to be an NHL goaltender but to day has looked shakey with the Pack so Benoit needs to work his magic.
Perry Pearn: A new job. He has proven incapable of making the power play work ... for two seasons now. And this season his special team has allowed a NHL high 10 shorthanded goals. Time to go Perry.
Mike Pelino: Something nice to give his dad. His old man gave me a Victoria Cup puck when I was in Switzerland so I hope he gets something nice from his son.
Glen Sather: A gold watch because it is time for Glen to retire. You built one helluva team in Edmonton, no one can take that away from you. But you ruined the Rangers not once, but twice by spending like a drunken sailor on shore lead. It is time to start enjoying the golden years ...
And to all of you: Kind wishes during this holiday season for health, happiness and good hockey!!
Let's Go Rangers!!