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The Night Before (NHL) Christmas

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, Chowder has a Christmas message for all hockey fans this Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas, in the NHL

All across the US, and Canada as well

Boston to Vancouver, New York to LA

Teams reflect on their season, & await Christmas Day

Young stars and veterans, old coaches and new

GMs, & stats guys, and media too

Trade bait, and prospects, united by pucks

And all of them dreaming of lifting one Cup

But what of these teams, a total of thirty

Physical, skilled, playing clean, playing dirty

Every team has a story, deeds naughty and nice

Let's consider them all, and check the list twice

Our journey will take us to rinks far and wide

North, south, east, west, up, down, side to side

From bottom to top in the standings we'll go

(That way no-one will be missed out, you know)

So we start in the Rockies, with poor Colorado

The Avs are Av-nots, wins are few and life hard, though

There is hope in their tank, for if they stick at it

In June their reward is to draft Nolan Patrick

Down in the desert, the Coyotes we see

Twenty years Arizonan, 29th in the league

Shane Doan hits 1500 – impressive, agreed;

But AZ's greatest product? He's a Maple Leaf

28th are the Isles of Brooklyn, New York

Capuano is struggling, and relations are fraught

They're a team who can't win, despite John Tavares

Change is required-failing that, new coaches

27th Vancouver, home of the Sedins

Time's running out here for the mercurial twins

For Willie Desjardins, problems abound

Canucks will keep falling, unless help is found

26th the Wings, with history strong

But Blashill ain't Babcock, and Lidstrom is gone

Dylan Larkin brings fear with his frightening speed

But it's time to rebuild the Red Wings may need

25th are the Sabres, Buffalo is their home

Jack Eichel and co seek through playoffs to roam

“Sharpen your Swords” the PR guys say

But a playoff run may be a few years away

24th, the Stars, pride of Dallas, Texas

With Benn and Seguin they know where the net is

But D troubles linger, to perplex Lindy Ruff

Goals are important-goals alone ain't enough

23rd the Devils, in New Jersey they play

Taylor Hall their new star, but the wins stayed away

A seven-loss streak broken, as Noel arrives

Maybe now they'll begin, up the table to rise

22nd the Leafs, from Toronto way

Young stars aplenty, Matthews, Marner...hooray!

There is hope up in Hogtown, of good times ahead

If Steve Simmons & friends don't kill it stone dead...

21st are the Jets, from cold Winnipeg

Patrik Laine has Calder dreams in his head

But the big question is – what to do about Trouba?

How long before Jacob hires a remover?

20th, Florida-going through changes

Gerard Gallant fired, and confusion reigning,

A GM who's a coach, owner hired by Trump

For Panthers, we foresee some turbulent months

19th, the Preds, new home of PK

The darling of Nashville now Subban, not Shea

But on ice Tennessee is demanding more

This team needs wins, if playoffs are in store

18th Carolina, the Canes on the rise

After years of rebuilding, maybe playoffs this time

Patience is required, though progress is clear

The men from Raleigh getting better every year

17th sit the Flames, beginning to burn

Calgary, a team who from mistakes have learned

A true superstar in Johnny Gaudreau

The best things come in small packages, you know

16th are the Lightning, down in Tampa Bay

Injuries aplenty are the trouble, they say

But even despite their superstars' pain

At Amalie they expect playoff hockey again

15th are the Kings, sitting way out west

Two Cups recently, but no longer the best

The glory days may have passed in LA

Will they be back soon? Nobody can say

14th are the Bruins, New England's pride

Pasta & Rask the stars, but problems they hide

The blueline is patchy, and goals are too rare

Fans hope a new D-man soon will be there.

13th the Ducks out in Anaheim

“Boudreau fired? Get Carlyle on the line!”

Ryan Kesler's a monster, Rickard Rakell can score

But you can't help but feel they need something more

12th are the Oilers – what, can it be?

Is this the year they come good, finally?

Connor McDavid is leading the charge

But we still need convincing of how good they are

11th St Louis, shaking off playoff Blues

And looking this year experience to use

They're always considered among the contenders

But by tradition fall short – this year, can they end this?

San Jose take us into the top ten

The Sharks looking like they'll challenge again

Come playoff time, surely, this year will be different

Is this their year, or just another it isn't?

Ninth the Capitals, another underachiever

Ovie wants a Cup-he's still a believer

Braden Holtby's a monster, a colossus in net

But there are too many failures their fans can't forget

Eighth are the Sens, surging in Ottawa

Under the radar, but quietly profiting

Christmas is welcome, to give them a rest

But consistency's needed to stay up with the best

Seventh the Flyers, with quality clear

Philly's ten-game win streak highlights their year

No boo-boys, no batteries thrown, a silent night

For this Yuletide, the future looks bright

Sixth are the Wild, in frozen Minnesota

Happy this season, for they've met the wins quota

Under Bruce Boudreau's guidance, this team has game

The State of Hockey living up to its name

Fifth are the Habs, in Montreal town

Carey Price instrumental in shutting teams down

But it's a Russian with whom the Habs are in love

Like the Beatles said, all you need's Radulov

Fourth, in New York, from riches to Rags

On Broadway they love Mika Zibanejad

Truly for Rangers these are good days

Led by the play of one Kevin Hayes

Third, the Penguins, holding the Cup

Crosby is stunning, and Kessel too, look

They won't give up Stanley without a fight

Any team that beats them has had a great night

Second the Hawks, flying high in Chicago

“No surprise, to be honest” you say...ah, though

They're not alone now on the top of the heap

Anisimov's injury will see them lose sleep

And top – who is this? Truly unexpected

The Blue Jackets? Columbus. No really, no jesting

From last to first, the Jackets have risen

A Cinderella tale – one you SHOULDN'T be missing

But today, rinks are silent, and family awaits

The NHL begins its Xmas break

Four days of rest, for stars far and near

For hockey Christmastime comes but once a year

Next week, to St Louis, for the Winter Classic

And the World Juniors too, with feats fantastic

But for now, hockey pauses, and fans far and wide

Will gather and celebrate another Yuletide

So wherever you are, and whoever you cheer

We hope your holidays are happy this year

Your firesides warm, your homes joyful and gay

And you're with those you love this Christmas Day

We thank you for reading our musings this year

And are glad you spent time here, & may we make clear

We welcome you all, friends near and far

For our sport is for everyone, whoever you are

Now there's one last thing, before we depart

To all who read this, one last wish we impart

From all here at Chowder, on this Christmas night

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!