Commentary

In the spirit of giving, here's what teams should see under the tree

Updated: December 27, 2007, 5:16 PM ET
By George Johnson | Special to ESPN.com

The holidays are here. The season for making your lineup sheet and checking it twice. For sorting out who's been good (Red Wings, Senators), who's been bad (Capitals, Kings) and who's been very, very bad (Flyers).

Henrik Zetterberg, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, Roberto Luongo and Vincent Lecavalier can expect lots of goodies in their stockings for the joy they've provided through nearly half a season.

The league itself should be asking the jolly fat man for a few more goals and a few less disciplinary hearings (there's nice, there's naughty and then there's Chris Simon).

Everyone in the NHL undoubtedly has mailed out a wish list. Except, perhaps, Sidney Crosby. What on earth do you give the 20-year-old who has everything?

Sid the Kid notwithstanding, here's what would look good wrapped up and tied with a festive bow for teams and players around the horn:

Anaheim Ducks
Asking Santa for a flashy Finnish right winger. Not to be overly picky but, say someone, oh, 37 years old, a bit of a procrastinator, former kindergarten teacher, fond of racing fast cars, owns a dog named Tie?

Atlanta Thrashers
Ilya Kovalchuk could use some help. He has a 14-goal and 12-point bulge on Marian Hossa on the team scoring list. That's just not fair.

Boston Bruins
After eight NHL seasons and close to 600 regular-season starts, at long last a playoff game for set-up ace Marc Savard! And … mandated higher door frames for Zdeno Chara.

Buffalo Sabres
A set of jumper cables to restart Maxim Afinogenov's stuttering battery. Remember, it's positive to positive and negative to …

Calgary Flames
A few home wins to prop up that improbable road record. Along with canonization, and an Art Ross Trophy, for inspirational, all-everything captain Jarome Iginla.

Carolina Hurricanes
A couple of cases of Imodium, so they can plug up the raging defensive drain at the back that compromises an admirable collective scoring output (five players at 30 points or more).

Chicago Blackhawks
Blackhawks fans already got what they have wanted for years: games on TV! A 30-minute-a-night, keynote defenseman to complement the kids would be welcome, too. And, lastly, something no other team in hockey would dare ask for -- more games against the Red Wings!

Colorado Avalanche
A completely healthy second half for Joe Sakic, one of the game's true marvels.

Columbus Blue Jackets
An injection of skill -- up front, on defense, anywhere. But, most expediently, somebody able to give the over-relied-on Rick Nash a breather now and again.

Dallas Stars
More Norris Trophy love for Sergei Zubov. At 37, he continues to sail along as if the ravages of time do not exist. Plus, Mike Modano's impeccable fashion sense for everyone in the room.

Detroit Red Wings
A wistful return to Hockeytown's salad days, when a seat at the Joe couldn't be had for love or money. A fourth, and probably final, All-Star Game appearance for the feel-good story of the year, 35-year-old goalie Chris Osgood. Oh, and a little more Scrooge and a little less Santa from The Dominator.

Edmonton Oilers
A recoup of a portion of that $21.25 million shelled out to land Dustin Penner, and a comedy cable network for coach Craig MacTavish.

Florida Panthers
Relocation. And retroactive jail time for Vancouver general manager Dave Nonis for being able to pull off the Roberto Luongo-for-Todd Bertuzzi heist in broad daylight, with the league's blessing.

Los Angeles Kings
What don't they need? Any sort of donation would be appreciated, Pere Noel. But patience, most of all.

Minnesota Wild
Another 1,000 games behind the bench for Jacques Lemaire, who, in his own clipped, crusty way, remains one of the best coaching interviews in hockey.

Montreal Canadiens
The consistency that their coach, Guy Carbonneau, used to bring to the rink each and every night.

Nashville Predators
Security in their Tennessee home, so that those great kids on defense, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Dan Hamhuis, can just maybe flip Music City back on to hockey.

New Jersey Devils
Nothing really, thanks, Santa. Their gritty, goal-depleting style of hockey has them back atop the Atlantic Division. Better than a roaring fire and spiked eggnog. Just the way the Devs like it.

New York Islanders
A peaceful retirement in Wawa, Ontario, for Chris Simon.

New York Rangers
For Sean Avery, a soother. For Henrik Lundqvist, a sandwich in his honor at the Stage Deli.

Ottawa Senators
An additional "n" for Dany Heatley. And how about an honest-to-goodness hat trick for Jason Spezza?

Philadelphia Flyers
A good lawyer and some delinquency management classes would be beneficial.

Phoenix Coyotes
An authentic playoff push in the second half to spark some hockey interest in the desert and put a semblance of a smile back on coach Wayne Gretzky's face.

Pittsburgh Penguins
A brand-new, state-of-the-art rink to appear miraculously -- immediately -- out of nowhere. Housing a masterpiece like Sidney Crosby in the rickety old Igloo is comparable to hanging Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" in a hardware store window beside a lava lamp. A worthy dance partner for Georges Laraque.

St. Louis Blues
A new, invigorating lease on life for nice guy Andy McDonald.

San Jose Sharks
The real Patrick Marleau, not the cheapo imitation being fobbed off on a gullible public this season. And an in-depth, day-long, self-help session with Tony Robbins for hockey's most talented, yet mentally fragile, group.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Well, a goalie able to post a save percentage of more than .888 would be a start. And a soft mushie pillow for coach John Tortorella to break his inevitable fall.

Toronto Maple Leafs
For classy captain Mats Sundin, a deal shipping him to an authentic Stanley Cup contender by the trade deadline. Out-of-favor (and now-out-of-the-lineup) defenseman Bryan McCabe would benefit from a humility handbook under the tree. His "you can't turn water into wine every night" line is hands-down the winner of the most hilarious quote from the season's first half.

Vancouver Canucks
For starters, a second line. Secondly, a better color scheme on those uniforms. The old throwback blue Orland Kurtenbach tones? Ewwwwww!

Washington Capitals
Any presents the L.A. Kings want to return on Boxing Day.

George Johnson, a columnist for the Calgary Herald, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.

George Johnson, a columnist for the Calgary Herald, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.