It’s the time of the year when some of us resolve not just to be better but to be perfect.
We’re going to lose 50 pounds, exercise six times a week, eat our vegetables and no junk food at all.
We’re going to put in that extra effort to earn the big promotion, write that perfect story, and stop watching stupid TV shows that are nothing but siphons attached to our souls.
We’re going to read a book a week, tell our loved ones every day how much they really mean to us, and pay off all the credit cards.
We’re even going to floss.
We’re going to have it all. We’re going to do it all. Right away.
In the immortal words of Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber,” “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
In that spirit of boundless possibilities and no limits, then, let’s look at 12 Have-It-All New Year’s Resolutions for Hockey East.
1. Vermont: We’re gonna score goals, and score them in bushels. No more scoring at a pace more than half a goal per game behind every other team in the league. No more last-place power play, too.
We’re going to remind our fans of the days of Martin St. Louis and Eric Perrin. Pure magic.
And that’ll mean we’ll win our first Hockey East game of the year. And then our second. And then… who knows?
2. Merrimack: You know all those 16 freshmen on our roster? They’re going to gain experience and physical maturity overnight.
We won’t have the “P word” — patience — thrown at us for the rest of this year (and maybe next) while we give up more goals than any other team in Hockey East and score fewer than everyone but Vermont.
And while that overnight maturity is happening, perhaps the coaching staff will land the kind of recruits that got the program to the middle of the pack a few years ago.
3. Maine: All games forevermore will be at Alfond Arena. All the way to the national championship game.
That won’t have to be the literal reality, but it will be the figurative one. Our players and coaches will believe it, the refs will believe it, and our opponents will believe it.
And since we’re undefeated at home (6-0-1), this resolution’s reality will mean a return to the grand old days even without the great No. 9.
4. New Hampshire: Every forward on our Wildcat roster will suddenly inherit from coach Mike Souza the scoring ability their mentor showed during his salad days at Durham.
That magic will cure many of this year’s ills. Although our overall scoring totals don’t look that bad, our numbers in Hockey East games are worse than everyone but Vermont.
But now we resolve to score like Mike.
5. Connecticut: Last year’s big step backward for our program will be erased from all history books and all memories. It will no longer have existed.
And with that removal, we’ll once again continue our gradual, inexorable (even inevitable) move to an elite program in the league, improving a little every year.
A few games better each year — our history since joining the league in 2014-2015 minus last year’s exception — extrapolates eventually to powerhouse status.
And since we’re already .500 this year, that’ll make the short term pretty rosy, too.
6. Boston University: Our snarkiest fans are voting for the outlandish, impossible resolution that the Terriers will win an actual three games in a row. Heck, they couldn’t put back-to-back W’s together until December.
But setting that snark aside, how about next year’s recruiting class include the next Jack Eichel, Chris Drury, or Tony Amonte?
Or if we can’t get any of that, how about a resolution to make sure that other team on Commonwealth Ave. doesn’t get a single piece of hardware.
7. Providence: We’re making our Have-It-All resolution simple–win the national championship. Again.
We’ve been invited to the dance six straight years, won it in 2015, and got to the Frozen Four last year.
Why not us?
8. Northeastern: In the last four years, we’ve won two league titles and been to the NCAA tournament three times. The Have-It-All resolution is obvious.
We’re going to the Frozen Four and we ain’t coming back without the hardware.
9. Massachusetts: We won the Hockey East regular-season title last year and advanced to the national championship game. This year we’re proving we weren’t just Cale Makar and a bunch of pylons.
So what’s left? Winning the Hockey East tournament and then completing the double-dip with a no-prisoners performance in Detroit.
10. UMass Lowell: After that six-year stretch where we made the NCAA tournament five times, won the Hockey East regular season twice and tournament three times (both firsts for the school), a resolution to repeat all three achievements might be quite reasonable. Especially since we have had a couple less magnificent years.
But those aren’t Have-It-All resolutions. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
The only possible Have-It-All resolution is to win it all. See you in Detroit.
11. Boston College: Can it really be three straight NCAA tournaments without the BC Eagles? After 17 appearances in 19 years, including four national championships and 12 trips to the Frozen Four?
We Eagles hereby resolve to once again make not just the NCAA tournament, but the Frozen Four, our annual destination. With a national championship this year and every other year or so into the future.
Just like the good old days.
12. Hockey East: The league resolves to add a 12th team, but not just any team.
The team will have the stature and fan base of a certain school in the Midwest, but be located in New England. It will attract sellout crowds both at home and on the road and of course, at TD Garden. And prompt a spike in TV ratings.
Piece of cake.
Chris Snow and ALS
So much for the light-hearted frivolity.
The brutal, gut-wrenching news that Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS hit me hard.
I first met Chris in a Boston University post-game press conference, in a small room packed with media people seated on benches along the four walls. Chris nervously asked legendary BU coach Jack Parker a question as his proud father, Bob Snow, beamed with pride.
Chris’s career soon skyrocketed. He achieved prominence first as the Red Sox beat reporter for the Boston Globe, a position of great significance in the industry. Then, amazingly and because he loved hockey most of all, he switched careers to the Minnesota Wild front office.
I’d see Chris at times, especially at the Frozen Four or other playoff venues, but I saw his father a lot more. Bob covered college hockey for nhl.com.
I’d always greet Bob with the words, “Hey, it’s Chris Snow’s father!”
Why? Because Chris had become famous, but even more because Bob and I both knew that seeing your kid do well was such a great feeling. Bob would be all smiles.
Like father, like son, they were both unfailingly polite and a joy to be around. Great people.
I saw Chris after a shakeup in the Wild front office left him looking for alternatives. As always, he remained positive. Things would work out. He remained all smiles, even before things did work out with the Calgary Flames.
Just a great guy.
Then last year, Bob died of ALS. As it turned out, it was a genetic variant of the disease that had ravaged his family. Two brothers and a nephew.
It wasn’t college hockey’s, or even Hockey East’s, first encounter with the dreaded disease. Dick Kelley, the legendary Boston College assistant athletics director for media relations, succumbed to ALS in 2014, following a three-year battle.
Another guy as nice as you could ever imagine.
Sometimes life just… is… not… fair.
And now Chris. Tragically, like father, like son.
He hasn’t succumbed yet, and in fact his doctors have enrolled him in a clinical trial for “the most encouraging ALS gene therapy treatment to come along.” And since the initial dose, the disease has not progressed.
So there is hope.
But when I see that photograph of Chris with his wife and two young kids, it’s a punch to the gut and a stab in the heart. The irony of the photo and letter from his wife appearing on nhl.com, where so many of his father’s articles appeared, is also not lost on me.
We sure could use a miracle here.