Will the NHL lockout finally come to an end early in 2013? (Getty Images)
Assuming you’re reading this, the end of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar – which coincided with Lou Lamoriello becoming the GM of the New Jersey Devils when they were established – did not mean the end of the world. If it did, then the first thing I’d do post-apocalypse is go out and hire a bunch of these guys to run my scouting department.
The calendar has turned to a new year, from the Year of the Dragon to the Year of the Snake (it was actually supposed to be the Year of the Predator, but that was cancelled once Ryan Suter split for Minnesota), which makes it the perfect time for some people in the hockey world to come up with New Year’s resolutions. But since we can’t count on them to be so bold, we’ve taken the liberty to do it for them.
All NHL players: To stop going to Twitter and making utter fools of themselves every time they feel aggrieved. And to come up with more creative ways of directing their venom at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Gary Bettman: To finally cease and desist in trying to convince the paying public that the owners were bending over backward with concessions during the CBA negotiations. The league has failed time and again to publicly acknowledge this negotiation was all about taking things back right from the start.
Donald Fehr: To grow a set of eyes in the back of his head. All the better to keep watch on a constituency that has displayed a well-documented history of knifing its leader in the back in trying times.
All NHL fans: To develop the fortitude to punish the league and the players upon the conclusion of the lockout instead of flocking back to the game like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano. We’re not talking about a total boycott here, but showing nothing except unconditional love the way they did seven years ago will only embolden the league to close the rinks next time around. Perhaps you don’t buy a team sweater this season, maybe resist the urge to drive up league revenues by not beating a path to the concession stand every intermission.
Patrick Kane: To stop making headlines off the ice.
The Canadian Hockey League: To stop punishing teams for going beyond the $50 a week stipend it pays its players.
Darryl Katz: To realize the good people of Edmonton have given him enough money for his new building and development and that he’ll have to actually go into his own deep pockets to help fund his monument to the rich.
Roman Hamrlik: To ignore the threats and abuse from other players for having the temerity to take a stand against the strategy of the NHL Players’ Association during the lockout.
Jay Feaster: To finally come to the realization, or at least articulate it to Calgary’s ownership group, that the Flames are headed on a path to nowhere at breakneck speed and that it’s time to blow this thing up already and start over.
John Davidson: To show the same kind of leadership with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he displayed with the St. Louis Blues. If there’s one franchise that desperately needs to connect with an ambivalent fan base, it’s the Blue Jackets. The most daunting challenge for the new president of hockey operations will be convincing people who have watched the worst organization in the NHL the past couple of years that there is no quick fix.
Raffi Torres: To take a page from the Matt Cooke book of redemption and prove he can play this game and be an effective player without trying to decapitate his opponents on a regular basis.
Bob Murray: To find a way to creatively sign pending unrestricted free agents Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf to long-term deals. The Ducks can live without Getzlaf, but they’re doomed if Perry bolts for another organization.
Jarome Iginla: To sign with a team that has a realistic chance to compete for the Stanley Cup in the next couple of seasons. Few players in the league today deserve a championship ring more than Iginla.
Sean Day and Ty Benson: To become the next two players to be granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada.
Ken Campbell: To shed the title of luddite and open a Twitter account, @THNKenCampbell. And to, by all means, resist the urge to tweet about things such as what movie he just saw, his political beliefs or how proud he is of his kids. Tweets will be confined to opinions and news about the game of hockey only. Promise.