Christmas time. No better place to gather with relatives and commiserate over that awful Wild power play.
Kidding. This year it will just be about how awful the Wild are headed into the holiday break.
It has been quite a roller coaster first three months for the Wild, as they struggle to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff picture heading into Christmas weekend. Let's take a look and see what hockey viewing options there are for you.
Wild: 12/22 vs Dallas, 7 p.m.
If the Wild want to salvage any kind of positive momentum going into the holiday break they will need a win over Dallas on Saturday night in St. Paul. The Wild defeated Dallas 3-1 back in October in the teams' first meeting this season.
NHL: 12/21 Buffalo at Washington, 6 p.m.
The best matchup of the weekend comes right away on Friday night as the upstart Sabres take on the defending Cup champs in D.C. Buffalo has suddenly lost seven of its past 10 while the Caps have won seven of 10 entering this game. This should still provide high entertainment value, so fire up NBC Sports Net.
Gophers Men's: Off
The Gophers have been off since the weekend of Dec. 7-8 when they went 1-0-1 with Michigan in Ann Arbor. They return to action next weekend against Ferris State.
Gophers Women's: Off
It has been nearly two months since the Gophers have lost as they enjoy a nice 17-2-1 record at the holiday break. They return to action the first weekend in January for the Minnesota Cup tournament at Ridder Arena.
Bulldogs Men's: Off
Now ranked at No. 4 in the country, UMD ended up going winless in its last three games -- 0-2-1 -- heading into the holiday break. The Bulldogs return to action Dec. 28 in the Desert Hockey Classic out in Glendale, Ariz.
Bulldogs Women's: Off
It was a nice win and tie weekend for the Bulldogs over Mankato back on Dec. 7-8. As they enjoy the holidays, the Bulldogs are 6-7-2 on the season with an impressive 5-1-2 record in Duluth this season. They are back in the Minnesota Cup tournament on Jan. 5.
Huskies Men's: Off
No. 1 St. Cloud State has not lost since Oct. 27, as they are riding a 10 game unbeaten streak into the holiday break. An exhibition game against the USNTDP U18 team awaits the Huskies on Dec. 27.
Huskies Women's: Off
Only once have the Huskies won since the calendar flipped from October to November, going 1-9-1 in that time. Lindenwood University visits the Herb Brooks Center next weekend before the Huskies take part in the Minnesota Cup tournament in January.
Mavericks Men's: Off
Minnesota State went out to Bowling Green last weekend and was swept to give the Mavericks their third and fourth losses of the season. The No. 3 Mavericks return to action on Dec. 28 in the Desert Hockey Classic out in Glendale, Ariz.
Mavericks Women's: Off
A tie and a loss to the weekend series against UMD is how MSU fared the last time out. The Mavericks return to the ice following the break in the Minnesota Cup on the first weekend in January.
Beavers Men's: Off
Last weekend saw the Beavers split with Alaska-Anchorage to take them into the holiday break. While they are off this weekend, the Beavers quickly return to action next weekend as they visit Air Force.
Beavers Women's: Off
After losing to St. Cloud State in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Classic, Bemidji State swept the Huskies in Bemidji before splitting with Mercyhurst the following weekend. The Beavers are now off until the first weekend in January when they host Union College.
High School Boy's: 12/22 Hill-Murray vs White Bear Lake, 7 p.m.
One of the best rivalries in the Twin Cities takes place on Saturday as No. 9 White Bear Lake takes on No. 10 Hill-Murray in the teams' first meeting of the season. If you have some time and want to check out some high school puck, get on out to the Vadnais Heights Sports Center.
High School Girl's: 12/21 Forest Lake vs Cretin-Derham Hall, 7:15 P.M.
No. 4 Forest Lake travels to play Cretin-Derham Hall, who is coming off a tie with White Bear Lake on Tuesday. Forest Lake has won 10 of 11 games this season.