Nobody had a finer year on the ice than Jonathan Toews. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
If you thought you had it rough, try being jolly old Saint Nick. Christmas is just days away, and according to all the classic and sometimes corny holiday movies that I've seen in the past two weeks, I know for a fact that Santa and his elves are rifling through last minute lists to see who has been naughty and nice.
To the chagrin of some (i.e. Colin Campbell), I was able to obtain a copy of the precious "NHL 2010 Naughty and Nice list" via email. Here's a snippet of where some of your favourite NHLers ended up.Nice:
No one in the hockey world has had a better year. The 22-year old emerged surprisingly as team Canada's best player at the Vancouver Olympics, leading the team with eight points. His lone goal of the tournament came at the most opportune time, opening the scoring against the Americans in the gold medal game.
Along with his gold medal, Toews was named best forward and an all-star in the two-week tournament.
The Winnipeg product then went on to become the second youngest captain (behind Sidney Crosby) to hoist the Stanley Cup in the spring, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. In the process he earned Conn Smythe honours, with 29 points throughout the playoff grind. He's the youngest player to win an Olympic gold medal, Stanley Cup, and World Championship (back in 2008). Note to Santa:
Please give generously to young Johnny; he's been a very good boy. Although, there won't be much room in his stocking with all the shiny hardware he's won this year. Naughty:
Despite having a breakout year with Anaheim Ducks last season (30 points in 69 games), there's no doubt Wisniewski is seeing coal in the very near future.
Towards the end of last season, the 26-year old American received an eight-game suspension for a vicious retaliatory hit on Chicago's Brent Seabrook. Wisniewski drove the hulking Blackhawks defenceman`s head into glass, leaving Seabrook with a concussion.
Wisniewski was traded to the New York Islanders this season and was back in Colin Campbell's sin bin this season, getting two games for making an obscene gesture to the Rangers' Sean Avery. Note to Santa:
Please take into account that many players would like to make that same gesture to Avery. Even though James hasn't been on his best behaviour (accumulating 10 games in suspensions over the past year), please be kind. Let's not forget he plays for the Islanders, which is punishment enough. Nice:
He's back and more unorthodox than ever. After a sub-par 2009-10 campaign, Thomas came into this season as the backup behind Tuukka Rask. But that apparently didn't sit too well with the Dominik Hasek mimic.
The American's numbers this season are flat out ridiculous. In 22 games, Thomas leads all goaltenders in save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts and is third in wins. I'll bet my last glass of eggnog that's he's leading the league in highlight-reel saves too. In my opinion, he's one of the most exciting players to watch in the league. Note to Santa
: Timmy's showed us all that perseverance and hard-work trumps any challenges in life. Be very kind to him--he's known to have a bit of temper when he doesn't like the result of what he gets.Naughty:
After recently passing his two-year anniversary with the Leafs, things aren't looking much brighter in The Big Smoke. To be fair, there were some lofty expectations placed on Burke. He was anointed as some sort of a saviour that would re-build a team that hopefully would resemble his young Ducks squad that won the Cup a few years ago, or even assemble a strong, exciting core-group like he had in Vancouver.
Neither has happened.
Toronto is on pace for roughly the same number of points as last year (74). He's made a few good moves (Clarke MacArthur looks like a steal right now), but that's forgotten with the many moves that have the Leafs Nation cringing (see: The Phil Kessel Saga).
As Burke has mentioned numerous times, it's not fair to assess the Kessel trade in the present, especially when the sniper doesn't have a true number one centre. But with a good chance that the Bruins will get a second consecutive lottery pick as part of the Kessel deal, fans can only wait so long before giving the Leafs GM the Dion Phaneuf treatment. The only success he seems to be having right now is at Burkie's Dog House at the ACC (it's really a delicious treat). Note to Santa
: Brian will likely try and negotiate his gifts for this year. Please be aware. But, I'm sure you can walk out with the first round pick in 2012 -- it's probably up for grabs.
Here are some other notables:Nice: Steven Stamkos
(Rocket Richard winner - can't stop scoring), Sidney Crosby
(forget all his other achievements, the gold medal-winning goal at the Olympics will go down as an iconic moment in Canadian sports history) and Henrik Sedin
(Art Ross and Hart Trophy, and named 13th captain of the Vancouver Canucks)Naughty: Sheldon Souray
(the latest public enemy in Edmonton), Ilya Kovalchuk
(he's making $750,000 US a goal this season, with only eight on the campaign), The New York Islanders
(insert any storyline from 2010 here).
That's jolly old Saint Nick's list -- who is on yours?
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