As the temperatures are projected to be a bit brisk for Tampa and the surrounding areas by this weekend, it truly is beginning to “look a lot like Christmas.” One of the more popular traditions this time of the year is wondering whether one has made Santa’s naughty or nice list so they can possibly get the presents they wanted. This year, Santa has shared with The Hockey Writers the players on the Tampa Bay Lightning who have made this list for 2022. In this case, of course, Santa will be referring to what the players have done on the ice for this annual list.
While the original credit for the creation of who was naughty and nice generally goes to the 1934 song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the origins of such an idea may go as far back as 16th century Holland when good children would find candy or cookies in their clogs that were put by the fireplace. There are also illustrations made in the early 1900s suggesting that Santa would check in on children to see if they were good or bad.
The first actual mention of the list came with the song written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934. The song included the lyrics, “He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice, He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” The song goes on to say that Santa Claus sees everything that boys and girls do, so they better be good, for goodness’ sake!
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So we will now reveal which members of the Lightning made the naughty and nice list for this year.
Naughty: Corey Perry
When you think of the top agitators in the NHL, Corey Perry’s name is usually included in the list, along with the likes of Tom Wilson and Brad Marchand. While Santa understands this is part of hockey, the 37-year-old makes the list because he has the worst plus/minus rating on the team at minus-8. That is quite fine with the Lightning, as they will gladly take the veteran, who has been a bottom-six stabilizing force for them this season.
Nice: Pat Maroon
Pat Maroon was heading to the naughty list because he led the team in penalty minutes, until the unfortunate comments made during a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 29. Instead of getting nasty about the comments from the announcer, who we refuse to name, the 34-year-old veteran took a stand against bullying and body-shaming. He posted on social media that he would donate $2,000 in Edwards’ name to Tampa Bay Thrives, a local non-profit that helps those struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues, and encouraged others to do the same.
Thousands of dollars have poured in from fans across the country, including a contribution made by the Carolina Hurricanes. In the holiday spirit of giving, Santa and The Hockey Writers would like to share the link to contribute, which can be found at tampabaylightning.com/donate.
Naughty: Lightning Power Play
It is not that the actual power-play unit itself has been poor, as they are currently tied for fifth place in the league in power-play efficiency with a 27 percent success rate. Because this unit is responsible for leading the NHL in giving up shorthanded goals, Santa will put a small chunk of coal in their stocking. Even a casual fan like Santa can see that being sloppy with the puck on the power play, combined with other factors like losing track of when players are leaving the penalty box, is not a recipe for success.
Nice: The Lightning’s Top Line
We knew Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point would have decent numbers this season. Throwing in Brandon Hagel has made all three players so effective that many consider them one of the best lines in the league. Kucherov has taken advantage of the chemistry that he has developed with his linemates, as entering this week, his 35 assists lead the league, and his 47 points are the fourth-most. Hagel caught fire in December, as he posted five goals and nine points in the team’s first nine games. Point recently came off a five-game goal streak as this line continues to be a catalyst for the team’s success this season.
Nice: Nick Perbix
A long shot to make the team at the beginning of the season, Nick Perbix has carved out a nice role for himself through his ability to handle the puck and make solid decisions on the ice. The team has so much confidence in him that he has been regularly paired with Victor Hedman on the top defensive pairing. The sixth-round draft pick has also become comfortable enough to join the rushes up ice while still complementing Hedman’s free-wheeling type of play.
Related: Lightning Stock Up, Stock Down: Hagel, Cooper & More
The Lightning recently found out that they will get an extended holiday break. It was announced that the game against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center had been postponed and rescheduled to Saturday, March 4, at 12:30 p.m. ET, due to the severe winter storm expected to impact the Buffalo area.