Well as the Christmas holiday is approaching, fans around the league will be celebrating the holidays, and I am sure most will be making some Christmas wishes on behalf of their favorite team. So this week, I will look at each of the divisions on a different day, looking at where they are, where they expected to be, and what they would wish for if they could sit on Santa’s lap.
This is for the Atlantic Division, which heading into Christmas has a logjam at the top:
New York Rangers (T-1st in Atlantic Division, 21-8-4)
Where they are: After a sluggish start that saw them begin in Europe and then Western Canada while renovations to MSG were completed, they have been on a tear of late and have climbed to a comfortable position in the standings and will have a chance to have home ice in the first round.
Where they expected to be: Bringing in Brad Richards turned them from an also-ran that would be battling for a playoff spot into a team to contend with. I wasn’t sure if they would join the elite right away, but they should have been a playoff team.
CHRISTMAS WISH: For John Tortorella to have his HBO moment. The 24/7 series is pretty much designed with him in mind, and before the series is out, Torts needs to have an unforgettable segment to make an already great series immortal.
Philadelphia Flyers (T-1st in Atlantic Division, 21-9-4)
Where they are: Despite losing leading scorer Claude Giroux and captain Chris Pronger to concussions, the Flyers are showing their stuff by just continuing to roll along, even with the distraction of HBO cameras following them around.
Where they expected to be: After an off-season of turnover, you couldn’t be absolutely sure what to make of the Flyers. But with apparently solidified goaltending and emerging superstar Giroux getting more meaningful time, they were still considered among the Eastern Conference elite.
CHRISTMAS WISH: Love him or hate him, Chris Pronger has made an impact in the league over his career. While those who hate him might call it justice, it would be unfortunate for his career to end due to a concussion. So the Flyers Christmas wish is for Pronger to be able to rejoin the team, hopefully sometime this year.
Pittsburgh Penguins (3rd Atlantic Division, 20-11-4)
Where they are: Even without the best player in the world, the Penguins have maintained a position near the top of the standings, due largely to the play of Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
Where they expected to be: With or without Sidney Crosby, the Penguins were still one of the deepest teams and would be considered a contender for the Stanley Cup.
CHRISTMAS WISH: A full recovery for Sid the Kid. The league is better off when he is on the ice, not just the Penguins. Also, the almost daily updates on his condition are over the top and boring, so his return would put an end to that.
New Jersey Devils (4th Atlantic Division, 14-17-2)
Where they are: On the cusp of the playoffs in what could be Martin Brodeur‘s final season. They still have some work to do to ensure they visit the post-season. Broudeur hasn’t been vintage and has struggled to put consistent games together.
Where they expected to be: This was a hard team to figure out heading into the season. The style of play they installed in their system really didn’t seem to fit personnel last season (see: Ilya Kovalchuk), so what adjustments would be made for this year adding a healthy Zach Parise?
CHRISTMAS WISH: It’s kind of hard for me to wish more success for Brodeur, but seeing him struggle mightily this season is painful. Hopefully he has one more good run in him before he rides off into the sunset.
New York Islanders (5th Atlantic Division, 11-16-6)
Where they are: A woeful Islanders team just can’t seem to do anything right. Sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Isles are once again playing for next year already. It doesn’t look like they will break their 4 year playoff drought any time soon.
Where they expected to be: It isn’t a surprise that they are where they are in the standings. The Islanders have been dysfuntional for years and that hasn’t changed.
CHRISTMAS WISH: For the Islanders to never have to wear those godawful third jersey’s again. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see them, brace yourself.
I am the farthest thing from a fashion critic you can imagine, but these are so ugly they are OOOGLY. The diamond shape on the hips that involve the pants as well are horrible, and I have never been a fan of having the numbers on the front. The colour scheme is also terrible. Its a good thing nobody watches the Islanders play anyway.
Check out previous editions of Christmas wishes:
HERE’S HOPING THAT YOUR TEAM GETS WHAT IT WISHES FOR THIS CHRISTMAS!
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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Topics: Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, John Tortorella, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby