The holiday season may have kicked off, but nobody in the NHL seems to be feeling warm and fuzzy.
Coaching getting pink slips and people seeing red are what is happening right now and we haven't even started the blood-letting that will happen over realignment.
Here's a look at who's crossing whom off their Christmas lists right now.
HEAR AND THERE: Steve Yzerman was one of the most gentlemanly players you could meet. He's a thoughtful, soft-spoken man. But he is not letting go of the feud that has developed between his Tampa Bay Lightning and the Versus commentators -- Pierre McGuire, Keith Jones and Mike Milbury -- who ripped his club for the 1-3-1 fiasco Nov. 9 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Yzerman and the Lightning considered boycotting Versus interviews when the network showed up to televise the Tampa Bay game against the Minnesota Wild this week but granted access in the end. Yzerman did put it out there that a repeat of the kind of comments he heard Nov. 9 and the Lightning would shut the door on Versus. Apparently Versus commentator Brian Engblom came close to ticking the Lightning off again when he asked the Bolts' Marty St. Louis if the system keeps the team from scoring as many goals as it might otherwise ... Speaking of bad feelings, there is no love lost between Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers and Jody Shelley of the Philadelphia Flyers. Dubinsky heard Shelley, a former teammate with the Rangers, call him "a weasel" on HBO's preview of the latest instalment of "24/7" for the runup to the Winter Classic. That didn't sit well with Dubinsky. "First of all, if I was him, I'd keep my mouth shut if I don't play, especially since I never see him on the ice," Dubinsky said. "He's usually just yapping from the bench, and I guess now he's yapping from behind the video camera. So that's about all I have to say." But Dubinsky didn't stop there. "Jody Shelley: It won't be long before he's out of the league, because he's a terrible hockey player." Maybe they'll be on the ice at the same time at the Winter Classic.
THE BUZZ: The New Jersey Devils were mentioned Monday on an episode of the TV series House. The idea was the defendant's alibi got torpedoed when he claimed to have watched Martin Brodeur shut out the New York Rangers when in fact it was Johan Hedberg who blanked them. Ilya Kovalchuk (pronounced "Kowalchuk," apparently) scored two goals in the fictional game. "I don't care," Kovalchuk said of the mispronunciation of his name. "I still scored two goals, they said. Not bad." ... There have been 169 coaching changes in the NHL since Lindy Ruff, the NHL's longest-tenured bench boss, took over the Buffalo Sabres.
JUST SAYING: Apparently the Anaheim Ducks have taken Bobby Ryan off the trade market but, if goaltender Jonas Hiller continues to unimpress, don't be surprised to hear rumblings of Ryan being swapped for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. Talk in Buffalo is Miller would be open to the idea of a deal, especially to Southern California where his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, is based. Miller said all the right things the other day about wanting to remain a Sabre. "My wife's career is out there and my career is here," he said. "If you find two people with demanding careers, it's going to be hard for anyone to be in one spot. My career keeps me here. I'm fortunate to have a break (during the off-season) and she's here as much as she can be and that's how we live our life. I know a lot of other couples who have it a lot worse ... This is what I want to do with my life and I want to be a goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres." But if Jonas Enroth can show he's the real deal ...
JUST WONDERING: Talk in Detroit is when will the Red Wings get an outdoor game and where will it be played? It wouldn't be surprising to see them get next year's game, maybe in a rematch of 2009 against the Chicago Blackhawks. It would be interesting to see if they would play at Michigan Stadium and try to break the outdoor game attendance record of 113,411, set between Michigan and Michigan State a year ago. As much fun as that might be, Wings owner Mike Ilitch also owns Comerica Park and would probably want the game played there.
THE LAST WORD: Dubinsky wasn't done after ripping Shelley, by the way. He also doesn't care much for Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. Rangers defenceman Matt Sauer ended up with a separated shoulder after a pre-season hit from Rinaldo, while the Flyer took a big run at Dubinsky linemate Sean Avery this week. "I think he's an idiot," Dubinsky said of Rinaldo. "And I think that, I mean, he's not really a good hockey player. So if that's what he tries to do to get under our skin, I don't think it works very well. He's not very effective at it. I think they should just keep putting him on the ice, because he's a liability against us."