The New York Week That Was (It's a Wonderful Life)

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IDecember 18, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 02:  Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, watches on during the game between  the New York Knicks and the Sacramento Kings on January 2, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

On Saturday night I was flipping between another Rangers loss and the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life .

Of course you can’t help but wonder, “What if George Bailey’s situation happened to me? What if I were able to see the consequences of never being born?"

That thought lasted about a minute and a half, because everybody’s life would surely be better.

My wife would have been able to marry a more successful, rich, interesting, well-rounded man instead of someone who has nothing but a monkey-shooting a slap shot, a couple of empty beer cans and some old Rusty Staub highlights filling up his head.

My daughter would have a normal father, one who doesn’t constantly quiz her on the proper French Canadian–accented way of saying the names Guy Lafleur and Gilbert Perrault.

And nobody else’s life would be affected one way or the other.

But on that subject, what if, more importantly, James Dolan had never been born? The Isiah Thomas era would never have happened. Scandals would have been avoided. Millions of dollars wouldn’t have been wasted.

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Marv Albert would still be calling Knicks games. Glen Sather would be long gone, after the disasters he’s foisted on his fan base.

Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival and Chris Drury would all be in Columbus or Nashville, anywhere but New York.

Stephon Marbury?

Wouldn’t have gotten a sniff of New York.

Eddy Curry?

Still in Chicago.

Would a few mistakes have been made? Probably. But would competence have occasionally made an appearance at the Garden? Most likely.

Instead, we’re stuck with the anti-George Bailey. Dolan makes everything around him worse off, and on top of that, he keeps losing Zeke’s petals. And every time a bell rings, another horrible free-agent contract is signed.

Of course, it makes more sense to imagine James Dolan as Mr. Potter (with the guy who should be running the Knicks and Rangers never having been born). And we’re all living in his slum—Dolansville.

Let’s see what each local team needs for Christmas after their respective performances this week (and yes, many of these involve time travel).

The Jets

They just need a chance.

This week’s win over Tampa Bay was their third in a row and has propelled them into the playoff picture again, but they’re going to need help. The Broncos lead the wild card race at 8-5, while the Jets are one of four teams standing at 7-6.

They have a tough schedule the rest of the way (Falcons, Colts, Bengals), but they’re still breathing.

The Giants

Dear Santa:

Please, please let us not give up 45 points every game the rest of the way. Can we put some pressure on the QB this year? And can the secondary cover somebody—anybody?

And if it’s possible, can we stop fumbling the ball? And when the other team fumbles, can you remind us to pick up the ball? Thanks, and Merry Christmas, the Giants.

The Knicks

“We’re capable of going out there and beating anybody, and we’ve shown that, but we’re also capable of losing to anybody, so we’ve got to be ready at all times and ready to go.”—David Lee, a day or so before losing to Charlotte.

The Knicks need some consistency for Christmas (1-9, then 7-6, now 0-2)—and also the ability to travel back in time so they can replay that fourth quarter against the Bobcats and maybe rethink all those threes vs. the Bulls.

The Nets

Can they just get a win for Christmas? Come on, just one more.

The Mets

Let’s see...they need a left fielder, a catcher, some quality starters, a few relievers, maybe a first baseman and how about a new second baseman?

Oh yeah, what they really need is a plan and a new GM. They weren’t in on the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, and like most interested teams, they didn’t want to go five years on John Lackey, so he wasn’t really in their plans either.

And should they have spent $30 million on Randy Wolf? No.

So they really aren’t “losing out” on all these players, and all the panic around town is a little over the top. But they should be overhauling their roster this winter; instead it looks like it will be just a little tinkering and tweaking.

Ryota Igarashi is a start and Jason Bay will probably be next. But do you trust Omar Minaya to make the right moves? He may be extremely optimistic, but Mets fans will most likely get a lump of coal in their stockings this year.

The Yankees

Sure, they need a left fielder (or center fielder if Curtis Granderson ends up in left), but they’re so loaded and rich they should be the one handing out the presents. They’re the richest team in Bedford Falls.

The Rangers

Christmas came early for the Blueshirts—Wade Redden was scratched (finally!), and the offense scored five goals. Now they just need to do that, oh, about every game. 

The real Christmas wish for the Rangers: Santa firing Glen Sather since Mr. Potter isn’t going to do it.

The Islanders

They just need time. They have the young talent, the will and hard work, so it looks like they’re onto something.

Sure, they may have a clunker or two like the 7-1 loss to Florida, but they’re young and still learning.

They, too, would probably like the gift of time travel to undo that Rick DiPietro contract. Sure, he may eventually give the Isles years of solid play in goal, but right now that’s looking like one of the worst contracts in NHL history.

Oh, and Santa, please don’t let them go to Kansas City.

The Devils

The Devils have Lou Lamoriello. They don’t need Santa’s help with anything.

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