Christmas is all around me, and so the feeling grows. And that feeling Billy Mack is describing is what happens inside us all when we consume holiday-themed content designed for the purpose of bringing joy and eyeballs to various websites, a gift that gives to aggregators and advertisers alike.
As you get your shopping done (or started), it's important to realize the NHL is a present we unwrap every day. Within the NHL, there are gifts for fans, players, general managers, owners and the league itself that sometimes we take for granted. Some of them are given long before Christmas; some are never given despite a great need for that gift.
What are some of those gifts that have been given? What are the gifts that are desperately needed? And how do those gifts we all give and receive around the holidays relate to what's happening in the NHL?
Glad you asked.
The usual Christmas gift: Jewelry
What it says: "I like you a lot but I didn't really put much thought into this other than I assumed you'd like it because it's flashy and really expensive."
Hockey's jewelry: Phil Kessel
Getting Kessel from Toronto was a thoughtful gift and shows the Penguins' dedication to the relationship, but perhaps you'd like to return it for store credit in order to purchase something you need instead, like a couple of defencemen. In the meantime, just throw this in the jewelry box next to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the other gems going to waste.
The usual Christmas gift: Luxury car with a red bow
What it says: "We are incredibly wealthy, so wealthy that even though we already have a luxury car, I'm getting you a new one."
Hockey's luxury car with a bow: 2016 World Cup of Hockey
We had the Olympics, and sure, they were great. It was a superstar-laden tournament every four years. The Olympics are hockey at its best. But we needed something that existed in our front driveways, not on the other side of the planet. I'm not sure how the extra money for the league plays into this, but a best-on-best tournament during the offseason in North America is the best gift a (North American) hockey fan will ever get.
The usual Christmas gift: Matching sweaters
What it says: "Constantly posting photos of us together on Instagram isn't enough of a public reminder that we are in a relationship, so let's wear these matching sweaters to the mall so everyone knows we are together forever."
Hockey's matching sweaters: The Sedin twins
These two guys have to play on the same line at all times for all eternity and they are sort of wearing matching sweaters, too. If the Canucks want to trade them in an effort to rebuild, they will literally be a package deal, like when someone in a marriage gets a job in a new city and their partner has to go with them. No one is saying the Sedins are ugly sweaters, as they are beautiful, Hall of Fame sweaters, but come on, we get it, you're together.
The usual Christmas gift: Gift certificate
What it says: "I have a lot of money but no real interest in what it will take to make you happy, so you're getting a set amount of money to spend in one specific place."
Hockey's gift certificate: Public finances for teams
Whether it's in Florida, Detroit, Glendale or some other NHL municipality, taxpayers are footing the bill for many expenses teams encounter, be it for arenas, arena upgrades or infrastructure. Having fans give owners gifts is like making your 5-year-old give you and your spouse a gift because otherwise you may abandon the child.
The usual Christmas gift: Lingerie
What it says: "I love you but it feels like we are just going through the motions and the climax just isn't what it once was, so please wear this as often as you can so I can feel arousal again."
Hockey's lingerie: 3-on-3 overtime
Sure, at first, it was hot. Oh baby, show me that Seguin-Benn-Klingberg look again. Give me some of that Toews-Kane-Keith sweetness. It was the spice our overtime sessions needed after becoming stale over the years. But now, it's not having the same effect. It worked well at first, but now we're seeing more shootouts, which are the love life's equivalent of going into the bathroom with a magazine and/or shower massager. Maybe we all need some new lingerie this holiday season.
The usual Christmas gift: Watch
What it says: "Despite the fact there are clocks everywhere, including on your phone, you either fail to arrive on time or show up when it's too late."
Who needs it most: Columbus Blue Jackets
In 2014-15, the Blue Jackets were 26-33-4 before finishing the season 16-2-1 and nine points out of the playoffs. In the 2013 lockout season, an 11-3 finish wasn't enough to overcome a poor start. At 11-19-3 this season, perhaps it's too late for this timepiece.
The usual Christmas gift: Big screen TV
What it says: "I love what you have but I'd like it a lot more if we could watch stuff on something bigger so we can see what's going on."
Who needs it most: NHL referees
In 2015, in a time in which airplanes have wifi and remote control cars can be piloted on Mars, the NHL's referees are reviewing goaltender interference penalties on tablets. Huge, important, game-deciding plays are being viewed on devices most use for watching movies on planes or to get your kids to shut the hell up for five freaking minutes while we drive to the store for some more of your stupid cheese crackers. And not for nothing, why can't the officials look at the giant TV that hangs above the ice in all arenas? This is a gift of necessity.
The usual Christmas gift: Music
What it says: "Your tastes aren't great and this is something you should add to your collection and play more often."
Who needs it most: New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens
Not one but two NHL franchises take the ice to Coldplay's "Fix You," a mellow, somewhat-depressing song the band wrote about Gwyneth Paltrow's dead father. "Tears stream / down your face / when you lose something / you cannot replace." "Yeah! Let's go play some hockey!" Isles, Habs, listen to me: Pick a new song. Any song. You could take the ice to any Adele song and it wouldn't be this sad.
The usual Christmas gift: The book, "How To Win Friends And Influence People"
What it says: "You need friends."
Who needs it most: Carolina Hurricanes
The team is averaging less than 11,000 fans per game, worst in the NHL, and its 57.6 percent capacity average is nearly 20 points worse than the 29th-place Florida Panthers. Maybe you're rubbing people the wrong way? If the book doesn't help, perhaps cologne or perfume is what's needed to avoid driving people away.
The usual Christmas gift: Child's first savings account
What it says: "The best way to keep track of your finances is by having your money in the bank. You will get a folder that keeps you abreast of how much money you have at all times."
Who needs it most: Every NHL team that cries poor before the next lockout
What's the longest we've ever gone without hearing about "record revenue" from the NHL? A month? Record revenue! $4 billion in revenue! Another $1.1 billion from MLB! By giving teams savings accounts now, they won't be able to tell us they are losing money when the current CBA expires in 2022.