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.)
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?