Although many people feel the hockey season never ends, myself included, they actually do have a training camp. I compare it going to summer school before the school year begins, in this case does the student ever really think they had a summer?
From U.S.A. Today
1. When will Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosbybe ready? He looks good, is skating well and reports everything is progressing well. But Crosby, his doctors and the team say he won’t come back until he’s 100%. This is the way it is with concussions. Everyone should be accustomed to that by now.
2. Who is the Philadelphia Flyers’ leader? No one has been named to replace Mike Richards as captain, but don’t forget Chris Pronger is there. Claude Giroux,Kimmo Timonen or Danny Briere are available. Regardless of who wears the “C,” this team has ample leadership.
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3. Will Alex Ovechkin be the scorer he was two seasons ago? It will depend on the Washington Capitals’ power play. Essentially, their goal this season is play as well defensively as they did last season and as sharp offensively as they did two seasons ago. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The Capitals should be the top power-play team in the NHL, and they weren’t last season. The Caps expect Ovechkin to score more than the 32 he netted last season.
4. Will defensemen Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings) and Luke Schenn (Toronto Maple Leafs) sign soon? The restricted free agents don’t seem close to deals. The Doughty situation is troublesome because the Kings feel like they have the pieces to be a contender. They don’t want their star defenseman missing camp for an extended period.
5. Which New Jersey Devils team will emerge under coach Pete DeBoer? They were out of sync under John MacLean and highly competitive late last season afterJacques Lemaire took over. With Zach Parise now at 100%, it could be the latter.
6. Who will Robyn Regehr play with in Buffalo? The Sabres could have a big, impressive shutdown pairing if he plays with 6-8 Tyler Myers. But coach Lindy Ruff could have other pairings in mind. This might actually constitute a fun decision for Ruff.
7. How will the Florida Panthers do? With so many changes this summer, it’s hard to know. Tomas Fleischmann is a key. He averaged a point a game before a blood clot ended his season. With David Booth, Stephen Weiss, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Mike Santorelli, Sean Bergenheim and Fleishmann, this team could score. Goalie Jose Theodore’s play will say plenty about how the team does.
8. Is Brent Burns the final piece for San Jose? The Sharks have sought a defenseman like this since Rob Blake retired. He’s like Blake in his prime. Burns is a three-zone defenseman with a big shot and size.
9. How many first-round picks will make the team? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers), Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche), Adam Larsson (New Jersey), Mika Zibanejad (Ottawa Senators) and Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida) could, though Huberdeau is not yet signed. The Oilers are making it seem as if Nugent-Hopkins isn’t a lock, but he still seems likely. Always there is a surprise, like last season when Alexander Burmistrov made it in Atlanta.
10. Who is the new Guy Boucher? Former American Hockey League coaches run the Dallas Stars (Glen Gulatzan), Winnipeg Jets (Claude Noel), Minnesota Wild (Mike Yeo) and Panthers (Kevin Dineen). One could emerge as the hot new coach like Dan Bylsmadid in 2008-09 in Pittsburgh and Boucher did on the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. Yeo is 38, and once was Bylsma’s assistant. Gulatzan is 40. Dineen is 47 and Noel is 55, and was the Columbus Blue Jackets’ interim coach in 2009-10.