Every new year brings new life, new hope and, of course, new resolutions. In Anaheim, for example, the Ducks might resolve to start playing this year as though it were actually last year, when they ramped up their game in the second half of 2008-09 and ultimately upset the mighty San Jose in the first round of the play-offs. Or Calgary might resolve to forget about the fact that their big three blueliners - Jay Boumeester, Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regeher - all failed to make Canada's Olympic team, and turn that disappointment into motivation for the NHL post-season.
No doubt, every NHL team have a resolution worth making - and keeping. Here is what 20 teams need to do in 2010. Atlanta Thrashers: Lock up free-agent-to-be Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract or trade the goal-scoring star for a package of players and prospects. The franchise's future rests on what transpires between now and the NHL trade deadline. If Kovalchuk ends up being dealt, it could radically alter the competitive landscape in the upcoming NHL play-offs.
Carolina Hurricanes: Forget about the 2009 portion of the 2009-10 regular season and try to salvage something out of the 2010 segment of the schedule. Chicago Blackhawks: Relentlessly push the Pittsburgh Penguins for the title of the best young team in the NHL. Florida Panthers: Make the play-offs for the first time since 2000. Los Angeles: Parlay a break-out first half - sparked by a bevy of young players - into a decade-long run of NHL relevance.
Montreal Canadiens: Give their fans something to truly cheer about as they turn the page from their first century of existence into the second. They might have been the last Canadian team to win the Cup, but it has been 16 long championship-less seasons in a city that has been spoiled in the past. New Jersey Devils: Remain the NHL's best perpetually rebuilding-and-reloading team. New York Islanders: Make good on the tantalising talent of rookie John Tavares and turn around the fortunes of a franchise that have been too far gone for far too long.
New York Rangers: Remember that good management - and not a gargantuan bank account - is the first order of guaranteeing success in a salary-capped NHL. Ottawa Senators: Wake up Jason Spezza - and then trade him for as much as they can get if or when his stock ever again soars. Philadelphia Flyers: Remember it does not matter how good you might look on paper if you play like a bunch of individuals once the puck is dropped.
Phoenix Coyotes: Remember it does not matter how bad you might look on paper if you play like a tried-and-true team once the puck is dropped. Pittsburgh Penguins: Live up to their dynasty potential and defend their Stanley Cup status. San Jose Sharks: Make it a memorable season for the "Big four" of defenceman Dan Boyle and uber-linemates Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau. The quartet have the chance to claim Olympic gold as part of Team Canada's effort in Vancouver, then lead San Jose to the long-awaited promised land of a Stanley Cup championship.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Remember that 1967, their last Cup win, was 43 years ago. Vancouver Canucks: Score often enough to support goalie Roberto Luongo. Washington Capitals: Start drafting defenceman and goalies to complement the team's embarrassment of riches on offence. email@example.com