On the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Red Wings Gave To Me...

Matt Hutter@mahutter12Analyst IDecember 22, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 02:  (L) Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates with teammates (L-R) Brian Rafalski #28, Henrik Zetterberg #40, and Johan Franzen #93 during Game Three of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 2, 2009 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Red Wings 4-2.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

As kids (and maybe some adults, I'm not trying to crush any dreams here) eagerly await the gifts provided by a jolly fat guy in a red-and-white suit, I thought of another group of guys in red and white who could make my Christmas especially joyous.

From Dec. 14 to Dec. 25, I will mimic the pattern of the "12 Days of Christmas" song by asking for one thing on the first day, two things on the next day, and so on until Christmas.

But, as this is the season of giving, I'd love for all of you to give me your thoughts on what you'd like from the Red Wings for Christmas, so please, post away!

For the record, I don't like NHL players playing in the Olympics, but that's a matter for another article.

Suffice to say, patriotism not withstanding, as a pro hockey player, your responsibility is to the team that pays your salary, the fans who provide the capital to do so, and your teammates who rely on you.

That being said, and given the Red Wings' season to date, I'd love nothing more than the following:

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Nine Red Wings resting (during the Olympics)

There are nine Olympians-to-be currently on Detroit's roster: Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Brian Rafalski, Valtteri Filppula, Ville Leino, Johan Franzen, Nicklas Kronwall, and Tomas Holmstrom.

Of the nine, only Franzen may be unavailable (recovering from knee surgery) to play for his national team.  However, Franzen's original return to the lineup was estimated to be around mid-February, right when the Olympics begin (Feb. 16).

Based on his progress thus far, it looks like Franzen may even beat this time horizon by a week or two.

Whatever the case, the thought of Franzen getting healthy after five months on the IR, playing for Team Sweden and sustaining another injury, frankly, makes me want to puke.

Look, I'm all for patriotism and national pride.  I can't imagine the honor every player must feel when they first step onto the ice to play for their country.

But, when it comes to your duties as a hockey player, your NHL team is No. 1 on the list.

Olympic participation is 100 percent an NHL player's choice.

Yes, the league allows them the option to play, but they are not contractually obligated by their national teams to do so.

With so many Olympians on the Red Wings, a collective decision to abstain from Olympic participation would be a big blow to their respective teams and the Games as a whole.

However, since the NHL first allowed their players to participate in 1998, the Wings have won Cups in two of those three Olympic years.

Clearly, back then, the Wings had a team that was healthy enough and deep enough to sustain the added fatigue of the Olympic Games.

This year, they're fighting just to stay in contention for the eighth seed.

As such, a team wide rest of almost two weeks during the Olympic break could very well give the Red Wings a chance to push the reset button on their season and make a serious push for the playoffs, once NHL play resumes the last week of February.

This one is a pipe dream, I know.

Then again, so is getting nine ladies dancing for you on this day.  Well, unless you've got the cash...

...eight seed position in the West , seven points for Ville Leino, six straight games without an injury, five players clicking on the power play, four wins in a row, three solid periods of hockey every game, two defensemen scoring, and a dominating performance by Pavel Datsyuk!

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