It’s the holiday season and we here at the 4th Line are in a giving mood. We figured we’d share this generosity with the NHL teams and bring a little joy in these turbulent times. As we’re still negotiating a 4th Line merch deal, let’s see what else Santa Gritty has under the tree in the Pacific Division:
Shooter Tutors: Anaheim’s mightiest Ducks don’t need all that much from Santa Claus, they’re heading into the break second in the division. With the practice facilities closed, the team might want to add some Shooter Tutors to their Christmas List. The Ducks have lost more shootouts than they’ve won this season (just).
Time off: Oh boy… please can we just give the Flames a Bye-Month? Let everyone get healthy and maybe we’ll have some more hockey in January. Postponed games aside, what the Flames need for Christmas is to play all their games on the road. Their road form is much better than their home form, and if Santa was to close down the (checks google) Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames might do a bit better.
Lucozade (or Gatorade or whatever): When the Oilers lose, they lose in regulation, and that distinct lack of loser points is going to hurt their campaign to get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. The Oilers are well poised to jump a place or two over their rivals and secure some post-season fun, especially if the season ends up being shortened again.
Special teams help: The Kings are in the purgatory that is the middle of the division. Not bad, not good either. Just middling. If the team wants to make a push, then they need to sort out their special teams. The power play and penalty kill are both dangerously low for a team that kinda, maybe, has a chance to progress, but only if they tidy up the special teams.
San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane buyout: Can you fit a resolution to the Evander Kane situation under the Christmas tree? Probably too much to ask for, but it could help. The challenge is that the Sharks still need to replace Kane, which is going to be tricky. If that’s too much to ask for, then a masterclass from Steve Yzerman in trade wizardry. There are some big contracts in San Jose that aren’t paying off in terms of performance. Big contracts are hard to shift though…
Time machine: This year, the Seattle Kraken would like one Gerard Gallant and for it to be 2017 again, and to be in Vegas. Nobody thought the magic of the Golden Knights’ inaugural season could be repeated by another team so soon, and they were right. GMs got wise and the Kraken have to start at the bottom and work their way up. They have more points than the Islanders, Senators, Habs and Coyotes, which is hilarious, but that’s more an indication of how bad those teams are playing. A bit of patience is all the team and its fans need.
More wishes: This is like when your kids give you their Christmas list and you look it and think ‘there’s no way you can have all of that’. The Canucks need tightening up in many places. Their current run is looking pretty good, but they’re still second last in the Pacific and have played more games than many of their division rivals. Coach Travis Green was given the heave-ho earlier this month, replaced by Bruce Boudreau. Santa, please bring some fresh ideas, something that’ll get the franchise out of its perpetual rebuild.
Vegas Golden Knights
Defenders: The Knights don’t need anything for Christmas, but it would be nice if Santa could tighten up the defence a little. The Knights are top of the division going into the COVID break, but they’re also joint top of the table for shootout wins, which is A, good that they’re winning but B, bad that they’re not winning as much in regulation, and thus giving loser points away. The top half of the Pacific division is still tight and the team really needs to hold onto their points. It’s a minor thing, more like a Secret-Santa present on a low budget, but everyone gets a gift.