Ben Hutton had it all planned out, then Jake Virtanen went and messed everything up.
The Canucks return home from this six-game road trip in the early morning hours of December 23rd; they have the 23rd, 24th and 25th off, before returning to action boxing day, hosting the Oilers.
Three days. Downtime. Holiday time. Family time.
Unless you’re Hutton.
The Ontario-born defenceman won’t see his family over the holidays, they’re spending it in Ottawa with his sister. He thought about joining them, but two days of travel for one day of exhausted visiting just doesn’t make sense, especially coming off the team’s second longest road trip of the season.
Virtanen, being the teammate and person he is, invited Hutton over for Christmas. The plan was for him to visit the Virtanens on Christmas eve and after the boys changed into their footed onesies, they’d watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon, not the creepy movie), roast chestnuts on an open fire and set milk and cookies out for Santa before hustling off to bed.
Christmas morning they’d wake up bright and early, rush downstairs to see gifts galore under the tree, alongside an empty milk glass and some cookie crumbs. Stockings first, then the big presents; they’d eat a wonderful meal, laugh, play and enjoy being together during the best time of the year.
At least that’s how I pictured it all playing out, we’ll actually never know what would have happened.
Virtanen is in Finland preparing for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. Did he consider Hutton’s feelings when accepting Team Canada’s offer to defend their gold medal? Probably not. Should he have? Probably not.
“You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do,” laughed Hutton, asked if he was offended Virtanen chose Team Canada over him.
“Now it’s me and Taney spending Christmas together,” smiled Hutton, a twinkle in his eye because it’s Christmas and he could spend it in the waiting room at a doctor’s office and he’d still have fun.
What’s the plan?
“We don’t really have one. We’ll see what happens.”
Loose plan. It is Tanev after all, he seems fairly easy-going.
Did you get him a gift?
“I didn’t even think about that,” Hutton laughed. “Yeah, I guess I better. A little something.”
Hutton clearly needs your help. Time is running out to find Tanev the perfect Christmas gift – any suggestions?! Don’t be shy, Hutton is depending on you!
Oh and Tanev, if you’re reading this, stop here or you’ll ruin the surprise.
Ho ho ho!