2005 mercifully came to an end for the Habs this past week. A season that started off with so much promise has tailed off in a hurry; the team that was winning by a goal all the time is now losing by 1 goal all the time. This was evidenced this past weekend, with a pair of close losses, 2-1 to Florida, and 5-3 to Carolina (with an empty net goal with 1 second left). This week in the recap, we focus strictly on the Habs, and what each player’s New Year’s wish could very well be.
New Year’s Wishes (sorted by stats):
Saku Koivu: A nice, multi-year contract extension. Now that the new year is here, the team can negotiate an extension with Koivu; he has proven he can still produce in the new NHL.
Michael Ryder: A centreman who won’t blame him for the team’s struggles, even though he leads the team in goals.
Mike Ribeiro: For him, a muzzle wouldn’t hurt, and then after that, a goal. 1 goal every 9 weeks isn’t cutting it.
Alexei Kovalev: Success on the road, averaging around 1.4 PPG at home vs 0.6 on the road.
Andrei Markov: The way he’s playing, the end of the season will be very welcome for him. Can you say “Ching ching!”?
Richard Zednik: A map to the net, 11 goals aren’t bad, but he could have many many more with some aim.
Craig Rivet: The status quo to continue, keep the boobirds away.
Steve Begin: Health for the rest of the season. It seems whenever he gets on a roll, he gets hurt. Just look at now for instance, out indefinitely with a neck injury.
Jan Bulis: An auto-aiming stick. Like Zednik, he’s getting the chances, but can’t seem to capitalize on them.
Niklas Sundstrom: A consistent role, just as he was finding his niche on line 3, he’s bumped up to line 2, then goes down, then up.
Alexander Perezhogin: A chance. Hopefully he’ll get it down in Hamilton.
Pierre Dagenais: More shootouts. It’s the only time he can skate at his own pace without fear of being caught.
Tomas Plekanec: A place in the lineup when he gets back from injury. The 4th line is not the place for him.
Sheldon Souray: Off ice, an end to the distractions, we wish him the best there. On ice, some more PP time, his shot is still an asset.
Chris Higgins: Some recognition as a strong rookie this season, he’s not gonna win the Calder, but how about giving him some credit for being one of the most consistent players so far this year?
Francis Bouillon: To be on the ice for some goals for, it’s never fun to have the worst +/- on a team, especially if you’re a defenceman.
Mathieu Dandenault: To be credited with a goal he actually scores, and then to not have it taken away within hours. (For those who are unsure of this, he was credited with the 4th goal vs Tampa last week, but it was correctly changed to Pierre Dagenais.)
Radek Bonk: For starters, a healthy groin would be nice, and then, a goal, which would up his total as a Hab to…1.
Mark Streit: Some confidence, he’s been much too tentative with the puck. Captaining the Swiss Olympic team should help this out.
Garth Murray: Keep impressing the coach enough to stay with the big club. Thus far, he has been a pleasant surprise, and is making the Hossa deal look better by the game.
Mike Komisarek: Right now, a shift would be nice. What has he done to deserve being benched for whole games at a time?
Jose Theodore: This is easy, to get back into his form of old from a couple of years ago, and make Team Canada regret leaving him off the Olympic team.
Cristobal Huet: Some games to prove his worth. With Yann Danis all but NHL ready, he’s already fighting for a contract next season.
Claude Julien: Enough patience to keep the lines together for more than 2 or 3 games.
Bob Gainey: May be wishful thinking, but to be able to fix the Canadiens scoring woes via a trade or 2. Given the current team’s performance so far, that may be easier said than done.