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Grading the NHL team Christmas videos

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a Christmas video for 2013 Nothing says "happy holidays" quite like Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. (Penguins.nhl.com)

By Allan Muir

It's that most wonderful time of the year, when your favorite NHL stars finally cave in to the pleadings from their teams' PR departments and agree to abandon all dignity in the spirit of spreading a little holiday cheer.

Yes, it's time for the annual video Christmas cards that are sent, with love, to you, the fans. And this year offers a diverse and laugh-filled crop sure to bring years of embarrassment to the participants. Check 'em out:

Pittsburgh Penguins: Holiday Album

The Bit: This one offers charmingly low-rent visuals and a great concept: a compilation album of re-imagined Christmas classics, including "Feliz Niskanen," "Do Jussi What I See," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Sidney Claus."

Highlight: Kris Letang channeling Fred Armisen channeling Lawrence Welk.

Grade: A

San Jose Sharks: This Is A Holiday Party

The Bit: While San Jose's players and staffers enjoy their annual Christmas get-together, their party performance is broken down by the team's broadcasters.

Highlight: Dan Boyle's joke delivery, Tomas Hertl at the kids' table, and "Hi! I sign your checks ... this week."

Grade: B

Boston Bruins: The Bear and The Gang Christmas Spectacular

The Bit: An '80s sitcom-styled short where every character introduction is a cue for uproarious canned laughter. It's nowhere near as good as the 2009 Holiday Rules film that boasted a brilliant turn from Marc Savard, but this one does feature a major award.

Highlight: Claude Julien, a telescope and snow monkeys. Maybe some day he'll become a snow monkey ambassador, too.

Grade: B

St. Louis Blues: 12 Days of Christmas

The Bit: Blues past and present sing a hockey-themed version of the Christmas standard. Not the most original concept, but the outtakes are pretty funny.

Highlight: "11 lessons English!"

Grade: C

Washington Capitals: Jingle Bells Rock

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The Bit: A bunch of Caps in grizzled prospector pajamas pantomime along with a souped up version of "Jingle Bells."

Highlight: Ovi. Every single frame of Ovi.

Grade: B-

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