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With the NHL season nearly halfway in the books, and the 2008 half approaching, there are a few teams that could use a new start in the New Year. Most of these teams will wish for the season to start fresh or to go back to the offseason, whereas others need to be thankful with what they have and be careful not to overplay their hand too soon. Here are Five New Year's Resolutions for some NHL teams as we look forward to the second half of the NHL season.
5. San Jose Sharks: Give G Evgeni Nabokov a Rest In 38 games this season, the Sharks have a very respectable 21-12-5 record, and G Evgeni Nabokov has started all of those 38 games consecutively. Sharks HC Ron Wilson joked early on saying that Nabokov may actually play every game this season, but 38 games in, it seems that Wilson may not have been joking after all. Nevertheless, the way Nabokov has played this season, it is hard to argue against it. He has been pulled from only three games so far, allowing backup keeper Dimitri Patzold a brief turn in net, which never went to well. Patzold has played a total of 44 minutes of hockey, and has given up 4 goals on 20 shots, which is not exactly inspiring the coaching staff to give him more time between the pipes. 82 games is a long season when you have to be on your toes for 60 minutes, so eventually Nabokov is going to need a night off, just to regain his composure. However, he will surely lead NHL keepers in games played this season, and is a great guy to have on your fantasy team.
4. New York Islanders: Get a Clue on the Power Play As far as Power Play Percentage goes, the Islanders are not the worst team in hockey, ranking near the bottom of the pack at 21st in the league. One thing PP% does not factor in, however, is that to accompany the team's 24 PP goals, they have given up a league leading 8 shorthanded goals, making them only a +16 advantage on the PP, which would definitely rank them in the bottom of the league. The Isles do not have a dominant scorer or playmaker on their team, which is part of the reason that their PP is so anemic, but it should not be this hard to keep other teams off the board with a man advantage. Part of the reason could be a lack of concentration on the PP by G Rick DiPietro, but most of the blame should go to the guys on the powerplay who are having so much trouble keeping the puck in the offensive zone while up a man. Perhaps the acquisition of another two-way defender before the deadline would benefit the Isles more than anything, and help them right their PP into something that can help them win more games.
3. Philadelphia Flyers: Play Nice with Others The NHL season is not yet half over, and the Philadelphia Flyers have already had five players suspended for dangerous hits on opponents, which begs the question: "Can this really be a coincidence?"... (Read the full article here: NHL New Years Resolutions)