It’s that time of year, kiddies. The time right before your credit-card bill induces septic shock, when the kids pout because they didn’t get EVERYTHING they wanted and your mother-in-law has you dipping into the online guide to “50 Kinds of Undetectable Poison.”
Because we’re in a giving mood this year, we’re going to strap on our trusty Santa sack, goose the reindeer into action and pass out gifts to those in the world of sports who impressed, distressed, depressed or full-court-pressed us this year.
Apologies in advance if we forgot someone you love. Space is limited — and so are the brain cells. A year of watching sports will do that to you.
Team Canada Junior coach Brent Sutter: A day when he doesn’t look like he forgot his hemorrhoid cream and his bird just died. And the decency not to rip a player (Jonathan Drouin) who is trying to come back from an injury.
Team Canada juniors: More goals. Fewer attempts to injure, like Matt Dumba’s boneheaded move Sunday.
Marc Bergevin: Jaromir Jagr, the guy he should have signed instead of Daniel Brière.
Jaromir Jagr: Another decade.
Michel Therrien: His very own Mix-‘n’-Match Line Masher. (Change game-to-game! Period-to-period! Shift-to-shift! Change your line combos on the fly!)
David Desharnais: Twitter trolls off his back.
Slapsie Maxie Pacioretty: A permanent sheath for that sword — especially after empty-net goals.
Carey Price and P.K. Subban: Russian food. Lots of it.
Gerry Frappier: A big, fat Cuban cigar to celebrate the 12-year regional deal RDS has signed to broadcast Canadiens games, the best news fans of the team have had since Pierre Gauthier was fired.
Brendan Shanahan: A suspension dartboard with the following categories: 1) mild; 2) lenient: 3) extremely lenient; 4) are you kidding me? And 5) gosh, we didn’t want his grandma to think he’s a thug.
Alexei Emelin: My apologies for inadvertently leaving him on the “zeros” list after replays convinced me that Steve Downie took a dive.
Peyton Manning: Another Super Bowl title to equal his inept brother in that department, then hang ’em up.
Mike Babcock: Enough sense to lean heavily on Ken Hitchcock, the smarter coach.
Andrei Markov: An Olympic medal as Russia’s best defenceman.
Tomas Plekanec: An Olympic medal as Czech’s best two-way forward.
Dallas Eakins: A buzz cut — administered by Lars Eller.
Lars Eller: A Christmas in Denmark. I’ll bet it’s lovely.
Jim Popp: A head coach not named “Jim Popp.”
Bob Wetenhall: A head coach not named “Jim Popp.”
Anthony Calvillo: A game or two to reach 80,000 yards passing, if he wants to attempt it.
Chip Cox: Another season like his 2013 campaign and recognition for what he was — the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player.
Andrew Wiggins: At least one more year at Kansas and preferably three — because there’s no way this kid is anywhere near ready to be a top pick in the NBA.
Big Papi Ortiz: Encore, encore. At least one more World Series title in Beantown.
Lionel Messi: A healthy World Cup and a championship to complete his legacy.
Sidney Crosby: A happy and healthy Olympics.
Kobe Bryant: The good sense to retire.
Robinson Cano: The ability to understand that when someone offers to give you $175 million over the next nine years, that’s not necessarily a sign of disrespect.
Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez: A conscience.
P.J. Stock: A pink slip.
Don Cherry: A five-year case of acute laryngitis.
Ron MacLean: Enough pride to stop fawning around Cherry. Enough humility to stop lording it over everyone else.
Stephen Harper: A cozy Christmas dinner with Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.
Rob Ford: A broken hip on the ice. Except that he’s so fat, he’d probably just bounce.
The entire officiating crew that worked the Habs-Predators game Saturday night: A month off to adjust their peepers.
Sabermetricians everywhere: Broken calculators.
Greg Schiano: A job coaching rats at the city dump.
Cristiano Ronaldo: A house made entirely of mirrors, so he can admire himself around the clock.
Women’s hockey: A ban on fighting.
Miley Cyrus: Clothes. And an actual voice.
Bo Pelini: A different state.
Hockey Canada: A post-Olympics press conference where our beloved officials can explain how Team Canada ended up with a coach with zero experience with the women’s game on the eve of the Olympics.
Jerry Jones: Shingles.
David Samson and Jeffrey Loria: Each other.
Daniel Snyder: A close encounter with a Sioux war party in full battle regalia.
&&&& finally, gentle readers: A warm and wonderful holiday to all of you. Good food, good music, people you love — and time to enjoy it.
Heroes: Vitali Klitschko, Caitlin Cahow, Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano, Erik Guay, Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, Antoine Vermette, Martin Jones, Peyton Manning, Ed Orgeron, David Duncan, Travis Gerrits, Ed Herrmann, Gogol Bordello, Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov &&&& last but not least, David Desharnais.
Zeros: Shawn Thornton, Matt Dumba, Brent Sutter, Melody Davidson, Kyle Quincey, Tom Wilson, Dion Phaneuf, Nazem Kadri, Max Pacioretty’s sword trick, James Moore, Deepak Chopra, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Adam Erne, the refs who worked the Habs-Preds game, Pierre Gauthier, Claude Brochu, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria.
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