While I could break down the East a week or two ago without a problem, obviously I had to scrutinise carefully training camps out West for a couple of days before being able to pose these key questions... Anaheim Ducks Can George Parros and Paul Mara spare enough of their surplus facial hair to complete Ryan Getzlaf's long-awaited hair transplant?
Calgary Flames Will Olli Jokinen again wear out his welcome by regaling Ian White and Jay Bouwmeester with tales of his infinitely greater playoff experience?
Chicago Blackhawks Has the signing of Hugh Jessiman finally brought closure to the Hawks' 2003 draft fiasco that saw them embarrassingly end up having to select Brent Seabrook two picks later in the first round?
Colorado Avalanche Can David Kočí repeat his three-minutes-per-game, six shot season of 2009-10 and parlay it into a Boogaard-esque free agent deal?
Columbus Blue Jackets How much is Nikita Filatov looking forward to hearing the Special Advice that newly-appointed Special Advisor, Ken Hitchcock, will be bringing to the organisation?
Dallas Stars Is being one Kari Lehtonen injury away from owning a team relying on Andrew Raycroft for wins more or less worrying to Tom Hicks than his reported financial "issues"?
Detroit Red Wings Can fresh-faced rookie Mike Modano crack the line-up and finally bring down the average age of the Wings' roster?
Edmonton Oilers With a shutdown defense corps led by the likes of Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert, does the freewheeling coaching style of Tom Renney mean Hall, Eberle and Pääjärvi-Svensson don't even need to consider learning to playing a two-way game in their rookie years?
Los Angeles Kings Did the Kings see Alexei Ponikarovsky's two goals in 34 career playoff games and mistakenly think they were still looking at Ilya Kovalchuk's bio?
Minnesota Wild Did the Wild front office think persuading an aging NFL legend out of retirement was the only way to bring national publicity to the area, or did they actually sign the John Madden they wanted?
Nashville Predators Will David Poile's experience in suspending moody eastern Europeans when they don't show up for work help Sergei Kostitsyn to settle in?
Phoenix Coyotes Can Paul Bissonnette round up enough homeless people to fill the lower bowl for the team's home opener?
San Jose Sharks Will the Sharks going cheaper in goal result in Dan Boyle's playoff goal tally only increasing further?
St. Louis Blues Is Roman Turek feeling a bit bemused about how feelings have changed in St. Louis towards goaltenders who can take teams as far as the Conference Final?
Vancouver Canucks Did Mike Gillis only take the "C" off Roberto Luongo's mask because he didn't want Keith Ballard's stick to do it first?
If you've visited the homepage of nhl.com recently, you might have noticed links to the league's "NHL Green" sustainability initiative.
The limited public reaction to the initiative that I have seen appears to consist of the accusations of one or two climate-change deniers that it's all part of a global left-wing conspiracy (for the record, it's nothing to with me...)
However, the NHL community has already made an impressive number of pledges to support the initiative. Here are just a few:
The Minnesota Wild to reduce energy use by drying players' equipment using the heat from a naked flame
Don Cherry and Mike Milbury to continue their media campaign to limit trans-Atlantic air travel by European players
The lifetime of red lightbulbs at Madison Square Garden to be extended by up to 200% due to policy of employing one scoring forward
Jim Rutherford of the Carolina Hurricanes to continue his policy of repeatedly recycling players
Fans in Vancouver to organise collection of used beer cups on the ice surface after every home playoff loss
Fans in Montréal to flip over any car parked downtown that is not electric or a hybrid after every playoff victory
Charles Wang to reduce the Islanders' carbon footprint significantly by having the team play out of a "virtual" new arena
Joe Sakic to promote the use of shovels instead of electric or gasoline powered snow blowers
The Devils, Coyotes and Panthers organisations to reduce the use of paper by printing 10,000 fewer tickets than arena capacity for each game
The NHL to establish the "Green Trophy" to be awarded annually to the defenseman considered by voting fans to have expended the least energy in the defensive zone during the season
Air conditioning in all luxury suites in the Air Canada Centre to run on the hot air produced by Brian Burke
The scoreboard at the Pengrowth Saddledome to be powered entirely by Darryl and Brent Sutter's electric personalities
All lighting at the new CONSOL Energy Center to be provided by the sun shining out of Sidney Crosby's lower body
Nikolai Khabibulin to travel to work by public transport for an entire season
Dan Carcillo to fit a draft excluder to the door of his trailer
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to commit to a league-wide 100% reduction in air and road travel to games and arena energy usage on game nights during the 2012-13 season
Dan Ellis to use unleaded fuel in at least half of his sportscars
In the time-honoured tradition of stealing the lazy concepts of NHL writers and rehashing my own work from sometime around this point in the off-season a year ago, here are this year's incandescent posers for the Eastern Conference.
(Publishing note: The Western Conference equivalent may not appear before the first year Ilya Kovalchuk is forced to beg for food.) Atlanta Thrashers
Will Byfuglien, Sopel, Ladd and Eager have a Cup-winning goal flashback every time a goal is scored and elicits virtually no crowd reaction?
Following the acquisition of Gregory Campbell, will the Bruins benefit or suffer from his father having no power to serve suspensions on players who maim Marc Savard, after several years of having no power to serve suspensions on players who maim Marc Savard?
Will Tyler Myers be grateful for the extra 25 cents saved towards his contract extension from the team buying out Tim Kennedy?
Will the campaign to repeal the law that prevents Anton Babchuk playing even-numbered seasons in the state finally bear fruit?
Can anyone score after Grabner-Bitz?
Will the lavish ceremonies held to celebrate the first anniversary of the lavish ceremonies to celebrate the club's centenary distract from on-ice performances?
New Jersey Devils
Might the league again challenge the Devils' management after finally wising up to their strategy of paying players for the vast majority of the year but then tacking on five or six worthless games in April at minimal to no cost, that they have no intention of competing in?
New York Islanders
Could this be the year that the pressure of being the team's two highest-paid players finally tells and leads to declining production from Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro?
New York Rangers
Will the ceaseless intimidation of Rangers players stop with the presence of Derek Boogaard, or will Tortorella still treat them the same way?
By what date will lazy headline writers run out of candle puns if Roman Wick makes the team?
Were the "loose bodies" removed from Chris Pronger's knee:
(a) Stolen game pucks from the Stanley Cup Final?
(b) A couple of Scott Hartnell hairballs?
(c) Fragments of the front wing of a Montreal-based writer's car?
What will replace the "young player is now better at faceoffs than he used to be" on-screen graphic as the obligatory #87-based go-to conversation filler during Versus/NBC broadcasts?
Tampa Bay Lightning
Which Canadian journalist will be the first to break ranks and describe an especially mundane roster move by the new GM as anything other than "an outstandingly savvy demonstration of understated management"?
Toronto Maple Leafs
If last season's storming run caused performance bonuses to reduce this year's cap space by $1.4m, will missing the playoffs by something less than 14 points make the Leafs' cap negative in 2011/12?
Can Jeff Schultz follow in the legendary footsteps of the previous three defensemen to lead the league in +/-, Marek Malik, Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival, in getting regularly booed at MSG within three years?
A UK-born/bred/based hockey obsessive.
Doesn't write often, but when he does, it's always almost good.
Creator of CHIP ("a pointless metric") and other NHL injury analyses now hosted at NHL Injury Viz, one-time unvaluable contributor to Hockey Prospectus and the Hockey Abstract team luck calculator.