We thank you, Lord, for these mashed potatoes, whipped as they so vigorously were by Aunt Gerdie and her famous garlic butter. And thank Gary Bettman, for overseeing the third work/play stoppage in his nearly 20 years as NHL commissioner.
Warm blessings to Cousin Carl, for picking up and then lovingly defrosting this succulent bird. And thank you as well, Carl, for making sure the weight of the turkey is 30 pounds, one pound for every NHL team that must reimburse its season-ticket holders all of their hard-earned money on which they’ve been earning interest for months.
Thank you, Great-Grandmother Josephine, for your timeless ambrosia. And let us acknowledge one could not be with us tonight but who is equally disrespectful of time. Donald Fehr, who has remained as steadfast as that pat of butter to Jerry’s left. As a baseball man, Mr. Fehr has no problem draining NHL hockey of its gratuitous fat — the preseason, the Winter Classic, the All-Star Game and the month of November — the way one might do away with the drippings from a particularly fatty turkey. No offence, Carl.
Thanks be to Uncle Gord, he who cradles his fourth scotch and is stuck over there at the kids’ table, for it was he who made sure we would not run low on ice even though all the stores are closed. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it was also Uncle Gord who claims he first came up with the clever turn of phrase “Puck Gary” and thus believes he has a claim for 0.057 per cent of hockey-related revenue when our glorious game returns. And kudos to his third wife, Liz, for aggressively stuffing Carl’s turkey the way Bill Daly and Steve Fehr have crammed commonsense out of plain sight. As the poultry slow-cooked on the bottom rack, I can confirm its juices strategically leaked into the bread crumbs like an NHLPA memo.
Let us continue to bow our heads out of respect for the table’s side dishes — cornbread, greens, and something that looks zucchini-based maybe — that my wife, Marigold, prepared in advance and definitely did not pick up from Boston Market on the way into town. And while our chins are nestled in our chests, forget us not of mascot Stanley C. Panther, the Toronto Maple Leafs scouts, Ottawa Senators office staff and others who are not making the money they normally would be at this time of celebration.
I know the fixings are getting as cold as a Magnitogorsk visitors’ dressing room, so I’ll hurry up.
Last but not least, thank you, Mom, for hosting all of us and for ironically hashtagging #LockoutProblems to all of your Instagrams of you and dad getting outside for once. And thanks, Pops, for separating the dark meat from the white meat with your bare hands, occasionally taste-testing each to “make sure it’s safe.” (Pause a beat for laughter.) And thank you, owners, who are losing $18 to $20 million each passing day, and players, who together have lost $385,729,892.78 in salary. As we near the biggest shopping day of the year, all that money not spent on hockey can be used to buy shiny new objects. Like footballs.
You can pass that butter now, Jerry.