It is a white Christmas Eve here in St. Louis. Children are playing XBox, movies are queued up on Netflix for viewing, and reservations at our local Chinese restaurant are secured for tomorrow.
Please overlook the fact that I celebrated a Bar Mitzvah many moons ago and read this letter as you would any letter from a simple child of the Midwest (ignore my birth certificate from Washington Hospital Center too). I'm writing this year with some requests not for myself, but for others, people I've never met but feel that I know.
Semyon Varlamov - A new groin muscle. Wait - how about a new groin? Let's replace the whole thing.
Tom Poti - A full-cage on his helmet. It's the only way to stop bad things from happening. If you don't have one, I'll run down to Play It Again Sports for you.
John Erskine - The anonymity a solid 6D needs to succeed and continued fortitude to be a role player.
Alex Ovechkin - Health, luck, and a wife that will cook and clean for him, because we know he won't do it!
Matt Bradley - An all-access pass to the Red Cross Blood Bank to both give and receive.
Boyd Gordon - A new back, which I assume he's asked for year-after-year-after year.
D.J. King - A vibrating seat cushion for his reserved spot in the press box.
Nicklas Backstrom - A grown-up haircut, consistent linemates, and a return of last year's magic.
Brooks Laich - A way to stay in DC after this year.
Mike Knuble - Slippers (of course!) and a way to rub his leadership and professionalism off on his teammates.
Scott Hannan - Comfort playing in DC and massive car failure so he has to "stay at home." (See what I did there?)
Jason Chimera - Dove moisturizing lotion to get rid of those hands of stone.
Matt Hendricks - Vision a split second into the future so he can always be the first guy standing up screaming on the bench after a Caps' goal.
Karl Alzner - The Gillette endorsement deal that Ovechkin got. C'mon. This is a guy that can grow a beard between breakfast and lunch!
Alexander Semin - What else? A new set of bongo drums. Also, a force field that prevents him from dumb offensive zone penalties.
Michal Neuvirth - A new head shot for the NHL, ESPN, Versus and others that doesn't make him look 15 y.o.
David Steckel - Another spectacular hockey play so that I get that goofy image out of my head of him jumping up and down like a schoolgirl after beating the Pens in Game 6 2009.
Mike Green - A machine that stops time to give him a moment to rest. Also, an end to hockey pundits saying he has to play more defense.
Jeff Schultz - Recognition for how good he is.
Andrew Gordon - More time to show if he can make it in the NHL.
John Carlson - Permission from Mike Gartner to wear #11. That number brought him magic in the WJC. I say let him wear it for the Caps.
Jay Beagle - A trade to another team for a middle-round draft pick. Good player, but no long term room here at the inn.
Mathieu Perreault -- The ability to score in consecutive games. Wait - make that the ability to play well in consecutive games. (We love you Matty, but you have to bring it every night.)
Tyler Sloan -- (see D.J. King)
Marcus Johansson - A steep learning curve that he can ride.
Bruce Boudreau - BBQ sauce, pants that fit him, and motivational speaker contract for the off-season.
George McPhee - Continued progress on his current course of team-building and the resistance to deviate out of panic. Willingness to make a gutsy trade at the deadline, but fortitude not to sacrifice the future at the same time.
Ted Leonsis - A hairstyle that isn't reminiscent of Cruella DeVille. Continued openness and fan communications that makes him a model for the 21st century sports team owner.
Caps' Fans - What the fuck else? The fucking Stanley fucking Cup!!
Thanks and best wishes to Mrs. Claus,