So much to know about the new NHL season; so little time to catch up on it all. But rest easy, that's our job. Here are 26 lines you need to know about the league and its 30 teams:
Brooklyn: Yes, the NHL has a team at the Barclays Center too: The New York Islanders will play their first season in Brooklyn in a building equipped with a great new dressing room but some terrible hockey seats.
Challenge, Coaches': The NHL is adopting a video-review challenge initiated by the coach (if he has a timeout remaining), but it can only be on a disputed offside call, a goalie interference call that results in a goal or other controversial calls around goals ... and it wasn't tested in the preseason.
Ducks, Anaheim: New guys Carl Hagelin, Chris Stewart, Shawn Horcoff, Kevin Bieksa and Anton Khudobin are being seen as the secret sauce to the recipe that will finally, ultimately, spectacularly move the Ducks on from getting chopped before the Stanley Cup finals.
Eichel, Jack: The highly touted rookie is expected to bring the goods to Buffalo Sabres (there's even been talk of a Calder Trophy as top rookie), and not at a moment too soon -- before his arrival, the Queen City was cheering for the opposition.
Goalies, Pressure on: Backstoppers Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning), Cam Talbot (Edmonton Oilers), Andrew Hammond (Ottawa Senators), Martin Jones (San Jose Sharks), Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild), Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals), Jake Allen-Brian Elliott (St. Louis Blues), Jonas Hiller-Joni Ortio-Karri Ramo (Calgary Flames), Antti Niemi (Dallas Stars) and Robin Lehner (Buffalo Sabres) are being counted on (dared?) to do that again.
Hakstol, Dave: The new coach of the Philadelphia Flyers is the first college coach to jump to the NHL since "Badger" Bob Johnson did so in ... 1982.
Ice, Outdoor: Three outdoor games are on the docket this season: the Winter Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium, and Stadium Series games at Coors Field in Denver (Detroit Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche) and at TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild).
Jurisprudence: Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane is under investigation but has not been charged for an alleged sexual assault, which is a heavy cloud over what would otherwise be a well-earned celebration of the dominance of one of the best-known franchises in sports.
Lightning, Tampa Bay: The defending Prince of Wales Trophy winners will be aiming at returning to the Stanley Cup finals, but will need to resolve the Steven Stamkos contract-extension situation soon if they want a distraction-free season.
McDavid, Connor: The 18-year-old Edmonton Oilers rookie is being called the next Sidney Crosby and has been described as already better than Steven Stamkos -- by none other than Steven Stamkos himself.
Nash, Rick: The big man will be challenged to score like he did last season for the New York Rangers without departed teammates Carl Hagelin (traded to Anaheim) and Martin St. Louis (retired) around to take some of the checking heat.
Overtime, New Format for: After a regulation tie, teams now play 3-on-3 overtime; if they remain tied, they go to a shootout.
Price, Carey: The Montreal Canadiens' Stanley Cup hopes ride on their goaltender's shoulders more than any other goalie in the league; if Price falters or is injured, the Habs will tumble down the standings in the Eastern Conference.
Quebec City: The provincial capital and Las Vegas were the only two cities to submit expansion bids for franchises that could start for the 2017-18 season, but the latest buzz is that there is no guarantee either of them will get in.
Rebuild: The Toronto Maple Leafs have completely rebuilt their front office in the last two years, starting at the top with president Brendan Shanahan, GM Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock, but Glen Sather, Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour would have a tough time getting this lineup mostly made up of AHL players and waiver-wire reclamations into the playoffs.
Substance abuse: The NHL revealed to TSN on Monday that it was working with the NHLPA to get ahead of a perceived cocaine problem among a small number of players.
Tanking: Last season, the Buffalo Sabres were accused of losing games to get a better shot at Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, and this year's tank patrol turns its lottery eyes to the Arizona Coyotes, who desperately want to draft Arizona native and prospect extraordinaire Auston Matthews.
Underwhelming response: The NHL is still officially denying that concussions lead to serious consequences for its players, even in the wake of the suicide of yet another player (Todd Ewen) suspected to have suffered series head injuries during his playing career.
Vladimir Tarasenko: The talented winger is being counted on by his St. Louis Blues to keep on scoring and earn every penny of his eight-year, $60 million contract, all the way to the playoffs.
Washington Capitals: With the additions of thrice-Cup-winning Justin Williams and shootout maestro T.J. Oshie, the coaching of Barry Trotz and the usual offensive brilliance from Alex Ovechkin, the Caps are considered one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
Xenophobics, It's Not For: Hockey fans are used to cheering for players from other countries, but that will be thrown out the window when the World Cup of Hockey -- which will remain a subplot throughout this season -- gears up in September 2016.
Year of the Goat: Lucky colors for the Chinese sign of the zodiac bode well for the Kings this season: brown (as in captain Dustin Brown), red (as in many an activated goal light?) and purple (as in alternate sweaters).
Zdeno Chara: Will the big Boston Bruins captain rebound from a subpar season to help his squad rise from the Atlantic Division ashes?