Merry Christmas to everybody reading this article, hoping you well wishes and good health through the holidays.
The NBA has a tradition on Christmas Day, while the rest of the sports world sits back and takes a holiday break. The NBA ramps up and hosts a series of marquee matchups for people to be savor alongside their Christmas Day turkeys and hams. The NHL is one of those leagues that takes a Christmas break. The NHL takes three days off. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
I’ll hypothetically go over what I think would an NHL Christmas Day schedule look like if they were to take over the primetime and host marquee matchups.
Washington vs Pittsburgh
Simply the best rivalry in hockey and I’m not even saying this on a bias. Right now, there isn’t a better rivalry than Ovechkin vs Crosby, Capitals vs Penguins. The Capitals exorcized their demons last season eliminating the Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they cruised their way to their first Stanley Cup Championship. Washington and Pittsburgh whether it be the preseason, regular season or playoffs simply don’t like each other and play each other hard no matter where each team is in the standings.
Start the day off right with a marquee matchup with two of the NHL’s most prominent stars.
Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators
After a solid appetizer out east, we’ll move onto the afternoon game, in which we’ll see two Central division teams square off in a rematch of last years playoffs. They are two of the best teams in hockey right now and they play each other tough every time they meet.
Laine, Scheifele, Wheeler. The Jets are a deep roster and it’s honestly a surprise they haven’t made it to the dance yet. In my opinion, a much deeper roster than the Predators, albeit the Preds have much much better goaltending and in the NHL that’s the difference maker. As a neutral fan without bias in this matchup, it was an amazing playoff series to watch last year. I could see myself sitting down Christmas Day just before dinner and watching these two teams go at it. On the plus side, P.K Subban is an absolute character and I’d love to see what kind of outfit he’d muster up for a Christmas Day marquee matchup on national television.
Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames
If I would’ve written this article last year, I would’ve chosen something different. Probably a Sharks vs Ducks matchup, however, this season the Oilers vs Flames rivalry has stepped up. We have an actual battle of Alberta on our hands now and it would be a perfect closure to the Christmas Day marquees. I also don’t think you take up a national television spot now without the intention of having Connor McDavid playing. Connor McDavid is by far the best player in the NHL as he’s been voted by his peers in back to back years now as the leagues best player.
The Battle of Alberta is alive and well and I think the American audience needs to be subjected to watching it more often, this Christmas Day schedule would allow the league to do just that.
I don’t expect the league ever to play games on Christmas Day as they seem content to have a work freeze during the holidays and in all honesty the players deserve to be with their families. I just thought it’d be a cool idea to look at what a marquee schedule would look like for the NHL.
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