I have been a good, faithful fan for many years and feel that this year I should be rewarded. I am not a greedy person and will not ask for the moon but I do have a short list that I feel that I am deserving of...
1. A healthy Rusty. Most years this doesn't seem like much of a stretch but this year has been a tough one for Klesla. He has been arguably our best defenseman since signing his extension and how is he rewarded? Injury after injury. Reports say that he had surgery to repair his torn stomach muscle, please help that and his groin heal quickly. We need him.
2. An end to the Freddy Modin drama... I would of course love to have him healthy and able to contribute to the team. When he is healthy he adds size and grit to the team with a seriously hard and more importantly accurate shot. We could certainly use a few of his goals. I just hate the series of injuries and setbacks that he has endured, I want it to be over.
3. A penalty kill... I don't understand how we were first in the league for a few weeks and then Hejda goes down and we immediately dropped to 18th. Currently ranked 23rd it appears that we have just decided to surrender goals in an attempt to get back to five on five quicker. We used to be aggressive and would even be a threat to score a shorty, teams now toy with our penalty kill.
4. A consistent defense... A lot of finger pointing has been done towards our goaltending and I for one think it unfair. On nights when our D steps up and clears out the front of the net we give up one or two goals and get the win. More often than not lately Mase or Garon make the first save but the rebound just lays around for an opponent to stuff it in the back of our net. Add to that the fact that we make careless mistakes in all three zones and can't hold a lead to save our lives... just pathetic some nights. Is consistency too much to ask?
5. Better goaltending... My previous list item may appear that I am absolving the goaltenders of all of their sins. This is far from the truth. I think teams have figured out if they get a couple on Mase early, the flood gates will open. Garon comes off of the bench and gives up even more. Part of this is the fault of lack of defensive support but I would be lying if I said our goalies have been stellar. I wonder if Mase has some confidence issues going on and is that compounded when he gives up a few early? Last year he would bounce back from those with no problem, not so much this year. Garon seems to play much better when he is the starter and doesn't have to come in cold.
6. Better announcers... I thought that Rimer and Gare were bad, boy do I miss Danny? Our current dynamic duo are so repetitive that I can tell you several catch phrases and when they are coming. Rimer with his "whale of a game", "precious seconds remain" and his "coast to coast" lines... they make me ill. As bad as he is Billy is worse... "let the puck do the work" and "that's a goal scorers goal". I have to watch the games with the volume off.
7. Last but not least, A playoff win... Not only do I want to make the playoffs again, at least one victory would be nice. I think the league was cheated last year. Laugh if you will but if you were in our building for game four against the Dead Things, you were impressed. Our building was rockin that night, period. I have been a hockey fan for many years and have watched countless playoff games, that game was the loudest I've ever heard. I have friends who are fans of other teams that called to tell me the same thing. With the lack of interest that has been shown to our sport, I would think the league NEEDS enthusiastic fans like we have in Columbus. Can you imagine if that call had gone the other way and we had gotten the win?
In closing Santa, I don't think I've asked for too much. If I have please forgive me and trash this list and bring me a Stanley Cup instead.