I watched Disney's animated classic Aladdin with my two little brothers the other day, and I got to thinking: What would each NHL team wish for if they were in possession of the magic lamp? No, not the one behind the opposition's net.
The one that contains the all-powerful genie—hopefully voiced by Robin Williams as well.
It's a well-known fact that genies grant three wishes, but for the sake of this slideshow, I'm going to push that number down to one. Because being a Featured Columnist here at Bleacher Report has several perks, such as control over mystical entities like magic lamps and voodoo dolls (it would seem Rick DiPietro is onto us, however).
Now that the cat is out of the bag (genie is out of the lamp?) on our ability to grant wishes via genies, I expect to receive phone calls from each NHL team, asking for the following things.
(And please take this story seriously so we can argue about how your favorite team would or wouldn't use a fictitious wish granted by a mythical being. It'll be fun!)
The Anaheim Ducks will wish for access to the fountain of youth for their all-time leading scorer. Teemu Selanne has scored more than 400 times for the franchise, but is getting up there in years. You wouldn't know it based on his performance during the 2009-2010 season though.
Age will eventually erode Selanne's effectiveness however, and when that time comes the Ducks would like to return the Finnish Flash back to his rookie-age. Which would in turn guarantee them a 76-goal season from Selanne.
The Boston Bruins would be doing themselves a favor if they wished for a way to bottle up Brad Marchand's swagger for distribution among their roster.
The kid plays with noticeable jam and never takes a shift off. I'm not implying that anyone on the Bruins does, but turning Marchand's battle-willingness into some kind of energy drink would go a long way towards curing any Stanley Cup hangover in Boston.
And Marchand, if you somehow catch wind of this idea and decide to create a Brad Marchand's Swagger Juice energy drink line, I want, like, 10 percent of the profit.
A year or two ago, the Buffalo Sabres would have asked for access to the money tree (the real money tree, not the payday loan service provider) to cure their lowly cap. But that issue seems to have been resolved.
So I fully expect for the fun-loving Lindy Ruff to request a Freaky Friday-type soul switch between Tyler Myers and Nathan Gerbe.
The Calgary Flames are a team that could wish for any number of things, including:
A. A lifelike replica of the Stanley Cup to give to Jarome Iginla since they surely won't be winning the real one for him by the time his storied career is over.
B. Cap space, or for the players that are eating up said cap space to actually play up to their respective hits.
C. A sure-fire prospect. Just one in the system would be better than the number they have now.
D. A center for Iginla and Alex Tanguay that is at least as talented as Olli Jokinen, Brendan Morrison and Matt Stajan combined.
Human cloning isn't technically legal in the United States, so the Carolina Hurricanes would have to use magical means to get a second copy of wonderkid Jeff Skinner.
If the Sedin twins can do such eerie things with the puck in Vancouver for the Canucks, just imagine what two exact copies could do out on the ice together.
A close second would be rest for goaltender Cam Ward. Just a little bit. A day off—maybe two—throughout the season.
After witnessing the hilarity that ensued in Buffalo with the Nathan Gerbe-Tyler Myers body swap, the Chicago Blackhawks would follow suit with dollar bills in their eyes.
They would wish for "Captain Serious" Jonathan Toews to body-swap with perpetual party boy Patrick Kane. The 'Hawks would then hire a camera crew and film a reality television series based on the chaos that would ensure.
I can just see it now: Toews (who is really Kane) walking around in an "I'm With Stupid" tee-shirt all the time with the finger pointing to Kane (who is really Toews). I'm a little out of breath after that one too.
I'm not sure if the Colorado Avalanche would ask for a pirate-esque peg leg or a biometric robot-like replacement for Peter Forsberg's bum foot, but either one of those options would be better than what Foppa has currently.
He's only 38, and if Jaromir Jagr can make a comeback, then so can Forsberg. Or could—if he could have that foot taken care of.
A win. The Columbus Blue Jackets would more than likely just wish for a single win.
Or if they really wanted to think big and take an active role in their community, they could secure prescriptions for anti-depressants for their entire fanbase.
The Dallas Stars were not supposed to be vying for the lead in the Western Conference this season. They are doing just that, though. Based on their current record and level of play, the suddenly-powerhouse Stars would wish for Brad Richards to bail on them more often.
Hey, you can't argue with results.
Few teams in the NHL have had the same level of success as the Detroit Red Wings since the early 90's. As such, the team has accumulated an obnoxious amount of banners—division titles, Stanley Cup victories and number retirements have lead to a pretty crowded ceiling.
The Wings would be wise to use their wish on a larger roof from which to hang all of their standards.
The Edmonton Oliers have been one of the most alarmingly consistent teams in the NHL in recent memory, finishing poorly and out of the playoffs more often than not. They've accumulated an abnormal amount of young, promising talent as a result.
But keeping all those players together could get tricky.
The Oilers would wish for the NHL to absolutely take over the sports world in North America, bringing in massive amounts of revenue and causing the salary cap to skyrocket.
It'd be the team's best bet to keep Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle, Linus Omark and Devan Dubnyk all in the same locker room for the long haul.
The Florida Panthers have been very active in the draft over the last few seasons, and the plethora of offseason moves the squad made only seemed like a way to bide time until the prospects are ready.
So why wait? The Panthers would ask for the next two seasons of play to be completed immediately.
Suddenly, they'd have an All-Star goaltender (Jacob Markstrom), a remarkably deep contingent of centers (Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Rocco Grimaldi, Drew Shore) and a Norris Trophy contender (Erik Gudbranson).
Few teams in the NHL posses the youth and talent in net that the LA Kings boast.
While some view Jonathan Bernier or Jonathan Quick as trade-able assets, why not make the best of the situation. The Kings would wish for the two masked men to be fused into a single netminder, creating a player named Jonathan Squared, who would dominate the league for decades.
Minnesota kind of got screwed when they lost their franchise to Dallas. Giving up the team was bad enough, but in the long run, the move also cost local fans the chance to watch arguably the greatest American-born player skate on a nightly basis in Mike Modano.
The Wild would wish for the chance to go back in time, kidnap the younger Modano and bring him to the future, where their fans could witness his majesty and command for nearly 1,500 games.
Fans of the Montreal Canadians are notoriously proud of the team's French heritage. The language is prominent at home games, and I'm sure I'm not the only fan from elsewhere that can't understand a lick of it.
Which is fine.
I have seen several sci-fi movies and shows where the people can understand each other no matter what language is being spoken. Like some kind of automatic translation chip in the brain...or something.
The Habs would clearly wish for that. Or maybe we'd wish for that for them.
The Nashville Predators would wish for a pile of gold coin—think Scrooge McDuck from Duck Tails here—so they could retain the uber talented team they've drafted and assembled.
The Preds have a team that would flourish in almost any NHL city, but the kind folk in Nashville just haven't taken the team. Maybe another season or two with Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne will bring them around.
That simply won't happen unless Nashville inherits some serious cash, or lands a new owner (see Scrooge above).
Ilya Kovalchuk, like it or not, will be the one to blame (or cheer for) whenever the New Jersey Devils succeed or fail over the next 26 years—that's the duration of his insane contract, right?
As such, the Devils would be wise to burn their wish on an actual give-a-rats-rear heart to insert into Kovie's talented but often motivation-less body.
Few teams have amassed a more talented and youthful core than the New York Islanders (the Edmonton Oliers vs. New York Islanders Stanley Cup Final that is coming within the next five years will hopefully drive Gary Bettman of a cliff).
The team isn't short on much as far as talent goes. All they need is an arena.
Garth Snow will wish for the current Nassau Coliseum to be switched with the neighboring Madison Square Garden. Older for old still gets you old, but the move would still be an upgrade for the uprising team that is currently stuck in a building that is falling apart.
No team in the NHL has the history of spending way too much money on lame players than the New York Rangers. They've done alright recently, but they could put themselves in a much better position by wishing for better odds for their free agents to not end up anchoring the power play in the minors.
A 60/40 ratio of success would be a good goal for the Blueshirts.
If there was an anti-Stanley Cup finals, the Ottawa Senators would be the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing via four consecutive sweeps.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As it turns out, the "Baby Sens" are the cream of the AHL. The "Daddy Sens" (???) could always wish for the fortunes of the two teams to flip-flop. Then they could at least make the playoffs and win a game or three.
My understanding of the relationship between Eric Lindros and fans of the Philadelphia Flyers is simple: Fans hate the guy.
But what if he hadn't lost roughly 80 percent of his brain matter on the shoulder of Scott Stevens? He could have been one of the most dominant, lasting forces in the NHL. So why not wish for Big E to be un-concussed?
With the way the season has gone for the Flyers so far, they probably don't have a whole lot else to wish for. Except for maybe a positive plus/minus rating for Brayden Schenn.
When the Phoenix Coyotes moved away from the rabid fanbase in Winnipeg, they were hoping to bring hockey to life in the desert. Things haven't gone quite so swimmingly. Despite being a playoff team for the last two years, the fan following hasn't formed.
So why not teleport all of the former Jets fans to Phoenix to root for this team? The old Jets.
It'll be another few seasons before the newly anointed Jets/Thrashers find success out on the ice. Until then, the Canadian crowd can enjoy the sun of the desert and a competitive hockey team in the Coyotes.
Sidney Crosby has been on the shelf with a concussion for what feels like a lifetime to everyone besides the haters. Ditto for Evgeni Malkin, who can't seem to get his knee to stop acting up.
Crosby = concussion.
Malkin = bum knee,
Are there two worse injuries in the game? The Penguins would use their wish on a clean bill of health for their two mega-stars.
OK, I give.
The San Jose Sharks would wish for a Stanley Cup. Plain and simple. The team has been a stellar regular season team, but has yet to make an appearance in the Finals.
They are on the right track with back-to-back showings in the Western Conference Finals, but that isn't enough for the Sharks. It's silver or bust in San Jose. Nothing a genie can't fix!
Jaroslav Halak made a name for himself during an improbable playoff run during the 2009-2010 postseason. He helped the Montreal Canadians overcome a 3-1 deficit against the monstrous Washington Capitals, and the young netminder saw his last name turned into an adjective.
Opposing teams weren't losing hockey games. They were being Halaked.
The St. Louis Blues made the move to acquire a lights-out netminder. But Halak hasn't been quite as good for the Blues.
So why not wish for the Slovakian goalie's name to once again become an adjective.
When Steve Yzerman landed Dwayne Roloson in a rip-off trade with the New York Islanders, he found a netminder to anchor the crease for his team.
A season later, it's been rocks ahoy for Rollie the Goalie. A simple wish could change all that. Just flip the two numbers of his age! Suddenly the 42-year-old fossil is a 24-year-old up-and-comer. Sound good, Bolts fans?
I thought so.
Joy is rampant for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as it should be. The squad has been kind of on the awful side for a while, and all of a sudden, they are lighting red lights like it's Christmas time.
The Leafs have a simple wish: Let Phil Kessel stay a'flame. As in, "let Kessel continue to lead the NHL in goals."
At least then the Tyler Seguin-Doug Hamilton to the Boston Bruins for Kessel deal doesn't seem quite so brutal.
Roberto Luongo is one of the most naturally talented goaltenders in the NHL right now. He's also one of the most susceptible to the pressures of playing in a Canadian city that is expecting a Stanley Cup parade soon.
All that Luongo seems to need is a bit of killer instinct. Vancouver Canucks fans would probably have no issue seeing Luo end up with Sidney Crosby's blood-in-the-water mentality. Or perhaps that of Tim Thomas.
Wish granted. Cup won.
Bruce Boudreau has done his best to turn his offensive powerhouse Washington Capitals into a team that plays in all three zones. Creative players like Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom have all found themselves on short leashes in the nation's capital.
Boudreau has left his thumbprint on the team. No, the squad could use the brains of an all-time great.
Think Scotty Bowman here.
Few bench-bosses have had the success with players like Sergei Fedorov and the whole contingent that made up the Russian Five in Detroit with the Red Wings. Maybe this kind of coach could turn a high-IQ group of players into champions.
The Winnipeg Jets would wish for patience. And they probably won't have a hard time finding just that during their first season in Winnipeg.