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TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Retirement just wasn't doing it for Dick Todd. So 11 years after he most recently stood behind the bench of the Peterborough Petes, Todd will resume that position tonight when the Petes play host to the Owen Sound Attack in the opening night of the 2004-05 Ontario Hockey League schedule.

Todd had been out of hockey for the past three years, spending his winters in Florida with his wife Mary. Prior to that, he had been an assistant coach and scout for the New York Rangers.

"I was never really keen on scouting," said Todd, who was 490-258-54 with the Petes from the 1980-81 season to 1993. "If another offer had come from another NHL team, I probably would have taken it. But nothing came along, so I decided to retire.

"When this opportunity arose, the timing was right. I felt I needed a little stimulus in my life."

Todd has a simple goal -- to get the Petes back to the playoffs. They missed the post-season in 2003-04 after setting an OHL record with 27 consecutive appearances.

The respect for Todd hasn't exactly disappeared.

"I think it's great for our league that Dick is back," Ottawa 67's coaching legend Brian Kilrea said. "And to see so many ex-NHL players coming back to coach, it just makes our league so much more stable."

Among the new coaches this year are former NHLers Bob McGill (Oshawa), Doug Lidster (Saginaw) and Dave Barr (Guelph).

Here's a glance at the teams this season, listed in predicted order of finish within each division:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL DIVISION

MISSISSAUGA ICEDOGS

2003/04 RECORD: 36-21-7-4

PLAYOFFS: lost in OHL final

- The Eastern Conference champions have three important blocks in place -- C Patrick O'Sullivan, D Kyle Quincey and G David Shantz ... Overage RW Brad Efthimiou, despite 74 points last season, is on the trading block ... Coach Greg Gilbert might use as many as 10 rookies ... Anthony Butera and Brandon Elliott, both overage Ds, will carry a large load.

BURNING QUESTION: How will owner Mario Forgione find the time needed to properly fill the role of general manager?

ST. MICHAEL'S MAJORS

2003/04 RECORD: 38-21-7-2

PLAYOFFS: lost in third rd.

- New coach Bud Stefanski wants his club to show more emotion than it did under Dave Cameron ... Five returning defencemen, led by Scott Lehman, appeared in at least 42 games last season ... G Justin Peters was second in league with 30 wins last season ... Loss of Tim Brent hurts up front, but Ryan Rorabeck and Cory Vitarelli should ease the pain.

BURNING QUESTION: Will a fairly deep Majors club finally work its way into the OHL final next spring?

SUDBURY WOLVES

2003/04 RECORD: 25-32-6-5

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- It all starts with German G Patrick Ehelechner, a San Jose pick ... Top three scorers of a year ago -- Bobby Chaumont, Rafal Martynowski and Zack Stortini -- are back, as is the bulk of the defence corps ... Rookies Nick Foligno, Jesse Messier and first-rounder Ryan McDonough will get a long leash ... Hiring of Bobby Jones to coaching staff was smart.

BURNING QUESTION: Will the Wolves live up to expectations and make a charge at the division title?

BARRIE COLTS

2003/04 RECORD: 31-21-12-4

PLAYOFFS: lost in second rd.

- OHL rookie of the year Bryan Little is the Colts' pace-setter ... Coach Marty Williamson led Aurora to the national junior A championship last season ... Departure of Jeremy Swanson leaves Barrie without a stud on the blue line ... D Andrew Dennis is recovering from shoulder surgery ... Overage G Jeff Weber has appeared in just 53 games in three years.

BURNING QUESTION: Will the general lack of experience in goal ultimately lead to the Colts' undoing?

BRAMPTON BATTALION

2003/04 RECORD: 25-32-9-2

PLAYOFFS: lost in second rd.

- Much is expected from LW Luch Aquino, lured from the University of Maine ... NHL first-rounder Wojtek Wolski (Colorado) has 100-point potential ... Overage LW Danny McDonald had 28 goals for Kingston last season ... Ryan Oulahen has been named captain ... Coach Stan Butler plans to rotate goalies Kevin Couture and rookie Daren Machesne.

BURNING QUESTION: Is this the last chance for Butler, who is in the final year of his contract, to make some noise?

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EAST DIVISION

OTTAWA 67'S

2003/04 RECORD: 29-26-9-4

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- Gone is two-time OHL MVPCorey Locke, but depth remains ... Picking up some slack are Czech forwards Lukas Kaspar (a San Jose first-round pick) and Jakub Petruzalek ... D Kyle Wharton (wrist) and LW Brody Todd (hand) are among five injured 67's ... G Danny Battochio has recovered from corrective vascular surgery last January.

BURNING QUESTION: When will one of Brian Kilrea's teams not be a contender in East?

KINGSTON FRONTENACS

2003/04 RECORD: 30-28-7-3

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- Try to find a better power forward in the OHL than Anthony Stewart ... Rookie C Cory Emmerton led the club with six pre-season goals ... Best goalie in camp was rookie Matthew Spezza, younger brother of Jason Spezza ... D Ben Shutron, a first-round pick, will be thrown into the fire ... Team's enthusiasm could help hide holes in lineup.

BURNING QUESTION: Who will step up and help replace offensive stars Eric Himelfarb and Bryan Rodney?

PETERBOROUGH PETES

2003/04 RECORD: 22-40-3-3

PLAYOFFS: Missed playoffs

- C Jordan Staal (taken third overall in May) arrived at camp bigger than brother Eric did in 2000 ... Club is high on Finnish G Eero Kilpelainen, a Dallas prospect ... D Mark Flood, the Petes' only overager, is out up to six weeks with a broken thumb ... Offensive punch is led by LW Liam Reddox and C Jamie Tardiff ... Rookie C Scott Cowie was good in camp.

BURNING QUESTION: Will the Petes' young group of forwards have the ability to go to the next level?

OSHAWA GENERALS

2003/04 RECORD: 30-29-8-1

PLAYOFFS: lost in first round

- The Generals lack a certifiable No. 1 centre and a quarterback on the blue line, but a good core returns ... Rookie D James DeLory, taken eighth overall last spring, was surprise of camp ... Former Maple Leafs defenceman and new coach Bob McGill won't put up with much garbage ... Dan Turple and Ryan Gibb form a solid one-two punch in net.

BURNING QUESTION: With or without Nathan Horton, do the Generals have enough to get into the playoffs?

BELLEVILLE BULLS

2003/04 RECORD: 15-44-8-1

PLAYOFFS: Missed playoffs

- General manager/coach George Burnett, in from Oshawa, has been preaching patience ... Finished 4-1-1 in pre-season ... Biggest concern for Burnett is shallow defence corps ... Pressure will be on first overall pick, C John Hughes, to produce immediately ... Overage G Eric Tobia could be the busiest at his position in the league.

BURNING QUESTION: How long will the positive outlook last before the reality of a long season sets in?

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

MIDWEST DIVISION

LONDON KNIGHTS

2003/04 RECORD: 53-11-2-2

PLAYOFFS: lost in third rd.

- Everyone's favourites to win the OHL title ... D Bryan Rodney, who led OHL defencemen with 76 points last season, was acquired from Kingston ... The Knights can beat teams on the ice and in the alley ... RW Corey Perry could lead the OHL in scoring.

BURNING QUESTION: Will having an automatic berth in the Memorial Cup kill some off the Knights' desire?

KITCHENER RANGERS

2003/04 RECORD: 34-26-6-2

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- Seven Rangers, including stalwarts Michael Richards and Andre Benoit, have Memorial Cup rings from 2002 ... Rookie D Jakub Kindl could be an NHL first-rounder next year if there is a draft ... D Matt Lashoff has been out with mononucleosis ... Bad taste lingers from first-round exit in playoffs ... Overall team defence was a sore point last season.

BURNING QUESTION: Is G Carlo DiRienzo capable of carrying his club deep into the playoffs?

OWEN SOUND ATTACK

2003/04 RECORD: 30-27-7-4

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- Scored a division-low 202 goals a year ago but forwards, led by captain Patrick Jarrett and sophomore Stefan Ruzicka, can be explosive ... C Brad Richardson ready to go after missing all but 15 games last year with a shoulder injury ... GM Mike Futa wants to add at least one experienced defenceman ... Third-year G Dan LaCosta gets the No. 1 role.

BURNING QUESTION: Will the Attack be able to overcome four rookies on the blue line?

ERIE OTTERS

2003/04 RECORD: 29-26-6-7

PLAYOFFS: lost in second rd.

- Coach Dave MacQueen, going into his sixth season, is third in longevity in the OHL ... C Ryan O'Marra will be under the scrutiny of NHL scouts ... There are five returning defencemen, led by Brian Lee ... C Rob Hisey had 96 points last season and easily could hit 100 this year ... The Otters feel they have two No. 1 goalies in Josh Disher and Jhase Sniderman.

BURNING QUESTION: Despite their relative depth, do the Otters have the potential to keep up with the Knights?

GUELPH STORM

2003/04 RECORD: 49-14-5-0

PLAYOFFS: won OHL title

- It's back to Square One for the Storm, which could easily miss the playoffs in the tough Western Conference ... GM/coach Dave Barr's philosophy is take the season one game at a time ... Gone are Martin St. Pierre, Dan Paille and Matt Ryan, who combined for 267 points last season ... As many as nine freshmen could be in the lineup on any given night.

BURNING QUESTION: Will the presence of G Adam Dennis be enough for the Storm to salvage some respectability?

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WEST DIVISION

SARNIA STING

2003/04 RECORD: 37-23-4-4

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- G Ryan Munce is among the favourites to tend goal for Canada at the 2005 world junior tournament ... C Danny Fritsche is out with a shoulder injury ... Losses of Dan Sisca (100 points) and Joey Tenute (78 points) will sting ... C Jamie Fraser, acquired from Brampton, was one of best players in camp.

BURNING QUESTION: Can former Guelph coach Shawn Camp lead the Sting to the top of a wide-open division?

SAULT STE. MARIE GREYHOUNDS

2003/04 RECORD: 30-34-3-1

PLAYOFFS: Missed playoffs

- Centre Jeff Carter is one of the OHL's premier performers ... Veterans Aaron Lewicki, Brett Connolly and Mike Looby were sent home to await trades. Looby was dealt to the Plymouth Whalers ... Jordan Smith and Brad Staubitz are integral on the blue line ... First-rounder Ryan McInerney looked fine in camp ... Rookie goaltender Kyle Gajewski will push incumbent Jakub Cech.

BURNING QUESTION: Is there a proper supporting staff up front to aid Carter?

PLYMOUTH WHALERS

2003/04 RECORD: 32-24-9-3

PLAYOFFS: lost in second rd.

- Leafs pick John Mitchell, who had a team-high 82 points last season, is out for at least two weeks because of a lower back strain ... Sophomore G Ryan Nie has assumed the starter's role ... First-round pick John Armstrong was impressive in camp ... Overagers Tim Sestito, Jonas Fiedler and Michael Knight all expected to carry some weight.

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Whalers overcome a youth movement to stay competitive in the conference?

SAGINAW SPIRIT

2003/04 RECORD: 16-45-3-4

PLAYOFFS: Missed playoffs

- Former NHL defenceman and new coach Doug Lidster takes over a team that is sick of losing ... Paul Bissonnette is the key among the defence corps ...The Spirit's top returning forward is Sean Courtney, who had 42 points last season ... G Mike Brown has held onto the No. 1 spot ... NHL scouts think D Patrick McNeill could be a high pick next year.

BURNING QUESTION: After recording 27 wins in two seasons, can the Spirit put it together for a breakout year?

WINDSOR SPITFIRES

2003/04 RECORD: 27-30-3-8

PLAYOFFS: lost in first rd.

- G Brad Topping has nailed down the No. 1 spot ... GM Mike Kelly, who takes over as coach, is looking to Tom Mannino, Steve Downie and Ryan Garlock to step it up a notch ... Freshman LW Tom Jefferson, brother of Mike Danton, has made the club ... First-rounder Cory McGillis is out until Christmas with a back injury.

BURNING QUESTION: Do the Spitfires have enough to survive the dogfight that will ensue for playoff spots in the West?


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