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Ice Chips: New Year’s Resolutions

January 1, 2010 | By Mike Chen | comment on this post
Kurtis Foster is playing great for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Kurtis Foster is Tampa’s most consistent blueline threat. (AP)

I always figured in the year 2010, hockey pucks would have laser beam trails and giant skating robots would duke it out following a goal. Now that 2010 is here, the only signs we have of those things come from bad flashbacks of the NHL On Fox broadcasts. If you’re not too hung over from your New Year’s Eve/Winter Classic partying, let’s peek in on what some in the hockey world have pledged as their New Year’s Resolutions.

  • For Simon Gagne, he pledges that his New Year’s Eve hat trick was a sign of things to come. Someone’s gotta get the Flyers out of their doldrums, after all, and after being back for two weeks, Gagne should be back up to speed — until, that is, he gets hurt again.
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  • For Kurtis Foster, he pledges to continue his strong offensive play as a sleeper defenseman. Foster had zero points in his first 10 games of the season; since then, he’s been Tampa Bay’s most consistent blueline threat in the wake of Dan Boyle getting moved. Not bad for a guy returning from a career-threatening broken leg injury.
  • For Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwemeester, they pledge (hopefully) to get over their Team Canada snubs and return to the point-producing form they’ve been drifting away from so far this season.
  • For Andrei Markov, he pledges to keep up the torrid pace he’s had since returning from injury. With eight points in six games, Markov’s value is at an all-time high right now. With Roman Hamrlik and Brian Gionta returning to the lineup, the Habs look to have some key pieces in place as they battle through the mess that is the Eastern Conference playoff race.
  • For Steve Mason, he pledges to play more like he did in 2008-09 rather than what we’ve seen so far in the 2009-10 season. Key point: Mason showed some return to form in some of the final games of the 2009 calendar year, as he only allowed one goal in back-to-back games against Detroit and the Islanders. Fantasy owners, take note — the slumbering giant may be finally coming to.
  • For Phil Kessel, he pledges to shake off the inevitable return of reality and go back to the absurd surge that carried his start. After playing strong for his first six weeks, including driving the Leafs to a sniff of the playoff race, Kessel cooled off dramatically. The biggest thing working against Kessel is the lack of talent around him, something that would finally catch up after the initial adrenaline rush of post-surgery and post-trade excitement wore off. Welcome to Toronto, Phil; this is what it’s really like.
  • For Patrice Bergereon, he pledges to use his Team Canada selection as a launching point to really get back into gear. Thirtysomething points isn’t shabby, but the Bruins need more from Bergeron, who’s shown point-per-game potential in the past. Some young players can hit an extra gear after the euphoria of a high-profile international tournament, and Bergeron is one to watch for this — especially with the impending return of Milan Lucic, which should throw a twist into the current forward lines.
  • For Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton, they pledge to continue the torrid pace that shook off slow starts. Both Panthers appear to finally be living up to their potential, but their rise to point-per-game status has been left out amid Florida’s .500 record and general low profile. They certainly deserve more Fantasy attention, especially with Cory Stillman looking to get back in the lineup soon.
  • For every Fantasy owner out there, you should pledge to keep a keen eye on the injury situation before, during, and after the Olympics. Remember, if players get hurt right before the Olympics, they’ll have an extended break to heal. If they get hurt during the Olympics, that means a top-flight player will be out and the depth chart shifts, so more opportunities will come for a third-line guy (as the second-line player suddenly becomes the defensive focus). If an Olympian gets hurt after the tournament, be wary of a slightly longer recovery as they’ve essentially gone through a playoff round.
  • For the NHL, it should pledge to not let the officiating slide in the second half of the season and the playoffs as has happened the past two years. Please.
  • For me, I pledge to start contributing to RotoRob in different ways with video game reviews. Exciting, huh? As this was written on New Year’s Eve, I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s celebration. Bring on the Olympics and the stretch run.

News & Notes

While the Kings got Ryan Smyth back, Justin Williams broke his leg and will be out a significant amount of time. Ryan Getzlaf’s self-inflicted leg laceration isn’t as bad as originally feared and he’ll be day-to-day rather than out several weeks. The Red Wings are hoping that time somehow speeds up, as January sees the projected returns of Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary, Niklas Kronwall, Jason Williams, and Jonathan Ericsson–that’s like a whole new team right there!

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