Several NHL teams would like to return uwanted gifts from the past year.
The holidays are over (or almost over if you celebrate something other than Christmas) and that means one thing — it’s time to return the bad gifts. An iPhone 7? Hey, grandma, get your crap together and live in the present. If you’re not going to get me a Google Phone, I may as well put in you in a home tomorrow.
The principle exists for NHL teams, too. OK, it really doesn’t. But it’s the end of the year and I need a premise for a column, so that’s why you’re going to read about a “gift” someone has received this year that they’d like to return. And it’s not like they got these “gifts” in the past week, but we’re going to make jokes so we’re going to have fun.
So here are some items that have unwrapped in the NHL in the past year that they wish came from a place with a return policy.
Anaheim Ducks: Bruce Boudreau was the family pet. He was great. Everyone loved him. But he got hit by a truck while the kids were at camp. So the Ducks thought they could replace him with a lookalike in Randy Carlyle, but no one is buying it. Everyone started to realize the scam when players clapped at him and said, “Here, Bruce!” and he didn’t respond.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Those outdoor game jerseys, man. The Penguins have great home and road sweaters, and the NHL gave them these things. It’s like having a PlayStation and Super Nintendo, then the NHL played the role of dork uncle and gifted a TurboGrafx-16 that the Penguins only have to use when Uncle Gary comes to visit at the end of February. These jerseys are basically the bunny suit from A Christmas Story.
New York Islanders: Andrew Ladd’s contract is a Lexus with a bow on it, only when you take the bow off and drive it, there’s no engine. Or brakes. And the trunk is filled with live snakes. When the Islanders towed the contract back to the dealership, it was already burned to the ground for the insurance.
Edmonton Oilers: No, this is not the space in which you’ll find Milan Lucic contract jokes. The Oilers made one truly bad decision that has been scaring fans all season — the creation of Hunter, the sharp-toothed mascot that has killed before and may kill again. The direct parallel here is the hairless cat Rachel bought on Friends before re-selling it to Gunther. Sadly, there are no Gunthers in Alberta willing to take this hellcat off the Oilers’ hands.
San Jose Sharks: Mikkel Boedker loves Andrew Ladd because no one is talking about his nightmare start after signing a four-year, $16 million deal in the summer. The NHL gave the Sharks a chance to return this gift at the moment they got it, as the league rejected the contract because of the front-loaded nature of the deal. The credit card company said, “Hey, you know, maybe you don’t want to buy this for yourself?” At best, the Sharks can do an exchange or get store credit. Maybe Boedker for Ladd at a local flea market?
Florida Panthers: While there has been no public acknowledgement of this gift and requests for this information have fallen on deaf ears, you have to imagine the Panthers want to return their How To Assemble And Run An NHL Front Office For Dummies to Borders immediately.
“Chapter 1: If It’s Working, Fix It!” “Chapter 2: Let As Many People Have Decision-Making Responsibilities As Possible!” “Chapter 3: Leave Your Coach On The Side Of The Road In North Carolina!” All the exclamation points should have been a sign this wasn’t a good book.
World Cup of Hockey: Team Europe and Team North America were the darlings of the tournament. Fans gravitated to both. They were designed to make the event more competitive and accomplished that goal, the latter doing so with the most exciting brand of hockey the sport has scene in decades. Why would the NHL return these gifts for the likes of Latvia and Slovenia at the next World Cup? Because even when the NHL strikes it big in the Secret Santa, they still want to exchange the gift for tube socks and a toothbrush.
Vegas Golden Knights: What gifts don’t they want to return? Their nickname? The idea to leave “Las” out of the name? The ceremony to unveil said nickname? Really, these are things they can’t return if they wanted to. It would be like waking up to a flood in your living room on Christmas morning, gifts soaked, and trying to return them to Spencer’s without a receipt. It’s too late to save anything.
Calgary Flames: They needed a goaltender. They wrote to Santa every day. They woke up one morning with Brian Elliott under the tree. They were so happy. They couldn’t wait to play him with their friends. But something was wrong. It didn’t work quite right. “Why does this goaltender have an .890 save percentage? On the box, it says .930 last year!” Much like the electric football game you got as a kid, the Flames wish they could return it but it’s easier to just throw it in the attic and forget about it.
The NHL All-Star Game: This one is hard to explain. The NHL hadn’t received a good All-Star gift in decades. Then John Scott came along. They rummaged through their parents’ closet and found it in advance. They tried to get rid of it. They shipped it to Montreal. But still, they were forced to accept it… AND IT WAS THE GREATEST GIFT THEY EVER RECEIVED. Everyone loved it! People from all over wanted to play with it.
So did the NHL learn their lesson this year? Are they excitedly tapping their feet in anticipation of this year’s All-Star gift? Of course not. They changed the rules of voting to deter the receiving of anything as wonderful as that ever again. It’s the pre-emptive return.
The NHL broke up with the greatest person in the world who gives the best gifts on Dec. 23 because they are idiots who deserve to be alone and unhappy.