In the spirit of the holidays, here are some gifts that should be handed out to those connected to the Flyers:
To Tim Saunders and Steve Coates: More recognition for the never-ending entertainment they provide during radio broadcasts. I listen to lots of broadcasters from around the league, and none can match the deadpan humor these two give listeners. And no one does more research and is more prepared than Saunders.
Saunders and Coates skillfully weave in good-natured barbs at each other during broadcasts and have become to the Flyers what Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen are to Phillies broadcasts, and that's not easy with all the losing that has transpired in recent years.
To Sean Couturier: An invitation to be a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award is given to the league's top defensive forward, but offense has entered the equation in recent years, and Couturier has already set a career-high in goals.
Another present: An all-star selection. Besides being on a stunning 39-goal pace, Couturier is still a shutdown center who gets the Flyers' toughest defensive assignment.
To Lou Nolan and Joe Kadlec: Spots in the Flyers' Hall of Fame. The affable Nolan has been there for all 50 years, the last 45 as the public-address announcer, and the classy Kadlec was the team's first public-relations director and spent 40 years with the organization.
In the coming years, others who should be added: Mark Recchi, Rick Tocchet, Simon Gagne, and Paul Holmgren.
To coach Dave Hakstol: A shiny yo-yo to signify the up-and-down play of his team. The Flyers became the fifth team in NHL history to win six straight immediately following a winless streak of at least 10 games. Bizarre.
Also to Hakstol: A memo that asks him to please stop saying the Flyers played well during their 10-game losing streak. They didn't. They were outscored, 14-2, after the second period during the skid. Playing good for two periods means nothing.
To general manager Ron Hextall: A copy of Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock's statement on bypassing the upper-/lower-body injury charade teams use with the media: "It's just easy to tell you what it is, and let's move forward," Hitchcock said. "Within two hours after we tell you it's upper body, you know exactly what it is. So why not just tell you?"
To fans who hate the Brayden Schenn trade with St. Louis: Patience.
Speedy center Morgan Frost, the first-round pick last June who was part of the deal, is tearing up the Ontario Hockey League and looks like a big piece of the Flyers' future. And the Flyers will also get another first-round selection from the Blues.
To Claude Giroux: A replica Ric Flair robe, like the one the team hands out to the game's MVP after a win. Giroux, the team's captain, unselfishly agreed to move to left wing, and he has made the switch flawlessly while returning to his point-a-game form. Yes, being healthy this season has made a huge difference.
To the 50 or so knuckleheads who tossed bracelets onto the ice during a recent game against Dallas: A (stained) T-shirt with Nolan's mug and his often-quoted words: "Stay Classy, Philly." You don't deserve a clean one.
To veteran goalie Brian Elliott: A one-year contract extension — he is signed through the end of 2018-19 — so he can mentor Carter Hart during his expected arrival in 2019-20. Elliott has provided solid play and has been a calming influence.
To hard-luck defenseman Samuel Morin: Good health for the new year so he can be recalled from the AHL's Phantoms when the Flyers suffer an inevitable injury on defense. The Flyers need his physicality in front of the net.
To Radko Gudas: A signed copy of Dave Schultz' old (and corny) 45 rpm record "The Penalty Box," which included these immortal words: "Baby, how long will you keep me in the penalty box?"
To rookie center Nolan Patrick, who is slowly making the adjustment to the NHL: Videos of Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere from last season and this seasons, showing him it takes time to heal from abdominal surgery and that he will be quicker during his sophomore campaign.
To Zack Hill: a bottle of whatever he wants to drink because he is the best public relations director of any of the city's sports teams. By far.
To Chris Pryor, director of player personnel: More luck in the draft lottery if the Flyers don't make the playoffs. You'll recall the Flyers had about a two percent chance to move from No. 13 to No. 2 in last year's draft. That's what happened, and they selected Patrick.
The Flyers have two first-round picks this June and may have more if they decide to deal Wayne Simmonds.
To Simmonds, who is the definition of an elite power forward: 10 goals for every new tooth he needs replaced from a bizarre Oct. 19 incident. He was sitting on the bench when the stick of Nashville's Mattias Ekholm accidentally hit him in the mouth.
To much-maligned defenseman Andrew MacDonald: More respect from fans. He's earned it. If you watched the Flyers' defense with and without MacDonald this season, you realize he is a much-needed veteran component of their young blue line.
They went into the weekend 12-6-1 with MacDonald in the lineup, 3-6-6 without him.
To the Flyers: A favorable schedule after Christmas. They have only one more road trip of more than two games, and, despite a recent 10-game skid, they have a decent chance to make the playoffs after somehow missing them last year during a season that included a 10-game winning streak.
To our readers: Happy holidays and a heartfelt thanks for reading.