The knockoff of a certain Robert Burns work wonít follow, but another holiday theme looms this week. As the season of giving gives way to the season of resolutions, broken or otherwise, we check in with the NHL. While some of us will resolve to put the needs of others in front of our own (think pass, not shot), to work a little less (quick shifts, all), and to generally get our priorities straight (hit the open man ... don't make a move at the offensive blue line ... don't try to beat too many guys ... cover the short side, etc.), here are 30 more for the 2003 to-do lists.
Above all, perhaps Charles DeMar said it best: Itís a brand-new year, Lane.
NHL Power Rankings
Ottawa Senators Pretend Monday's loss in Nashville didn't happen, then phone in a complaint to the schedule-makers. Not since Nov. 25 have the Sens played more than two games in a row either at home or on the road. And in January, Ottawa will play a league-maximum of 16, with 10 of those on the road.
Detroit Red Wings See how much longer they can keep flying under the radar. Also, write a letter to Power Rankings headquarters, making a compelling argument for the No. 1 or 2 ranking.
Dallas Stars Find a radar. In the midst of 10 of 12 on the road, the Stars may not know which way is up, down, east or west, but they're also in the midst of a wayward stretch, having drifted for more than a month near the nine-games-above-break-even mark.
Boston Bruins Realize that when the secondary scoring lines aren't scoring much, they'll tread water. And, as proven Monday night against New Jersey, when they don't score at all, opposing goaltenders will earn shutouts.
Philadelphia Flyers Use warmup period to actually warm up. Perhaps that would aid the Flyers' league-low average of 0.51 goals scored in the first period. Too bad, too, because until Monday night in San Jose, they were undefeated when scoring first.
Toronto Maple Leafs Generate groundswell of Canadian respect. In a recent Slam! sports Web poll, after 4,931 constituents had voted, the Maple Leafs were running behind three hockey outfits (men's and women's Olympic gold medalists and the Canucks) as the "2002 Team of the Year." The Leafs' five percent of the vote did, however, rank above the four percent earned by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.
Colorado Avalanche Bottle whatever it is they've been drinking since Dec. 19, when Tony Granato took over. A few more Peter Forsberg hat tricks wouldn't hurt, either.
Tampa Bay Lightning Flog conventional wisdom. After a four-game winless drought, the Lightning made no significant line changes (other than getting Dave Andreychuk back from injury) and came out last week to beat the Bruins and Rangers by a combined score of 10-5.
Chicago Blackhawks Keep Eric Daze and Theo Fleury healthy and safe throughout the New Year.
Los Angeles Kings Query the writers who created M*A*S*H*, ER, Chicago Hope, St. Elsewhere and General Hospital. Perhaps a discourse on some creative ideas to keep the Kings healthy would be, well, healthy.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks Play more uneven hockey. The Ducks are the only team in the NHL that averages the same number of goals-for per game, 2.59, as goals-against.
Montreal Canadiens Batten down the hatches. Montreal is allowing an average of 1.27 goals in the third period, while scoring only 0.62, the worst deficit in the league.
San Jose Sharks Believe it or not, they must find their way in San Jose. Since Ron Wilson -- now making use of some lines that are occasionally playing very well for him -- joined the team, the Sharks are 6-3-2-1, with no discernable streaks in either direction.
Washington Capitals Set alarm for All-Star break, sprint past Tampa Bay to clinch Southeast Division title.
Pittsburgh Penguins Avoid the kinds of losing streaks that take a team from, say, 11-6-3-3 to 11-14-3-4.
Carolina Hurricanes Pedal hard, ride with the Southeast peloton, keep Florida at bay, pray for slumps by the Capitals and Lightning.
Florida Panthers Enjoy Florida sunshine, and don't forget that their league-leading seven OTLs are still worth seven points, points that some teams would be glad to have.
New York Rangers Make nice with opponents ... and the lord of good karma. Next time a player talks about how fun it is to keep the rich team down, wonder how long it would take that player to sign a free-agent contract with the Rangers. Still, all that ill will seems to be keeping the Blueshirts down.
New York Islanders Load gun, aim away from foot. Only the Coyotes allow more than the Isles' average of 1.06 goals against in the first period.