NHL action moves from courtroom to the ice

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:45 PM ET

Had enough of the Phoenix Coyotes, Jim Balsillie, Gary Bettman and Judge Redfield T. Baum?

Tired of hearing about Paul Kelly, Ian Penny, Buzz Hargrove and the NHLPA?

You are not alone.

Take solace though. Relief is on the way.

In the coming days, the spotlight will shift from the boardrooms and courtrooms to 30 dressing rooms.

Yes, NHL training camps open next weekend. And hockey fans can't wait.

When we last tuned in to the action on the ice, euphoric Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was skating around Joe Louis Arena with the Stanley Cup.

Much has changed since that steamy June night in the Motor City.

Marian Hossa is a Chicago Blackhawk, Jay Bouwmeester a Calgary Flame, Marian Gaborik a New York Ranger, Chris Pronger a Philadelphia Flyer and Ryan Smyth a Los Angeles King. The Montreal Canadiens? They shredded their entire roster to the extent that you can't tell the team without a program.

To prepare you for the return of The Boys of Winter, here is Sun Media's NHL training camp preview, starting with a look at the six Canadian teams.

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UH-OH CANADA

It could be a long, cold Canadian winter for the NHL teams north of the border:

MONTREAL CANADIENS

The Smurf Line?

After the Habs much-anticipated Centennial Season ended with a humiliating four-game first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins, GM Bob Gainey's housecleaning netted 5-foot-11 Scott Gomez, 5-foot-9 Mike Cammalleri and 5-foot-7 Brian Gionta. Introducing the Canadiens' new first line. Bruins giant Zdeno Chara is drooling at the prospect of going into the corner with any of these guys.

OTTAWA SENATORS

As The Heater Turns

Bryan Murray is tired of it. Eugene Melnyk is tired of it. Sens fans are tired of it. So what is it, Dany Heatley? Are you staying or going? At the time this was written, Heatley was still a Sen, but ...

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Bay St. Bullies

On the opening day of free agency, GM Brian Burke inked Mike Komisarek and Colton Orr, then acquired Garnet Exelby in a trade. Combined career goals: 22. Combined career penalty minutes: 1,556. Enough said.

CALGARY FLAMES

Brotherly Love?

Mike Keenan gets the boot as coach. In comes Brent Sutter, brother of Flames GM Darryl Sutter. Welcome to hockey's version of All in the Family. Calgary had better get off to a good start or it might be a bit uncomfortable when the Sutter clan congregates around the table for Christmas dinner.

EDMONTON OILERS

Two-Headed Monster

The combination of incoming coach Pat Quinn and assistant bench boss Tom Renney shows a lot of promise. They might be better served if they could actually go out on the ice and score goals.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Double Trouble

With the Sedin twins on board, the Canucks have never advanced past the second round. Is there any evidence to suggest 2009-10 will be any different?

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QUESTIONABLE CONTENT

With NHL training camps about to kick off, here are 30 questions for 30 teams:

ANAHEIM DUCKS: How will these bruising Birds cope with the losses of blue line studs Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin?

ATLANTA THRASHERS: Are the additions of former Leafs Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina enough to keep superstar Ilya Kovalchuk from wanting to bolt Dixie?

BOSTON BRUINS: Can this talented squad take the next step after its devastating second-round elimination by Carolina?

BUFFALO SABRES: Can a team whose biggest off-season acquisition was journeyman Steve Montador find a way to move up from 10th in the East?

CALGARY FLAMES: Will Jay Bouwmeester's arrival overshadows concerns about Dion Phaneuf's off-year last season?

CAROLINA HURRICANES: After leading his Cinderella team to the Eastern Conference final, how long will the honeymoon last for Paul Maurice in this, his second marriage with the 'Canes?

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: With the Bulin Wall now in Edmonton, can Cristobal Huet be The Man to lead this talented squad to a Stanley Cup?

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Can rookie sensation Steve Mason avoid the sophomore jinx?

COLORADO AVALANCHE: Will life without Joe Sakic be as cruel for this once-proud franchise as many expect?

DALLAS STARS: Can future Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk be as successful running a team from the GM's box as he was on the ice leading three different franchises to Stanley Cups?

DETROIT RED WINGS: Can the NHL's model franchise overcome the off-season losses of Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Kopecky and, most likely, Jiri Hudler?

EDMONTON OILERS: Having been snubbed by Dany Heatley, will management be able to land a much-needed top-six forward?

FLORIDA PANTHERS: Forget the loss of Jay Bouwmeester for a moment: more importantly, where are the goals going to come from?

LOS ANGELES KINGS: How much does veteran Ryan Smyth have left in the tank?

MINNESOTA WILD: Can incoming GM Chuck Fletcher, coach Todd Richards and stud forward Martin Havlat take the Wild to places the departed Doug Risebrough, Jacques Lemaire and Marian Gaborik could not?

MONTREAL CANADIENS: Can Jacques Martin somehow author the type of post-season success that so often eluded him in Ottawa?

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: How can Barry Trotz keep this financially-strapped team competitive without any notable free-agent acquisitions?

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: Can the Devils' team-first system prevail despite the losses of John Madden, Brian Gionta and Mike Rupp?

oNEW YORK ISLANDERS: Will John Tavares be the saviour of a crumbling franchise that desperately needs one?

pNEW YORK RANGERS: Can Marion Gaborik's hip hold out longer than the patience of quick-tempered Broadway fans?

OTTAWA SENATORS: Which Alex Kovalev will show up: The stud of 2007-08 or the dud of '08-09?

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Will Daniel Briere ever live up to that whopping contract?

PHOENIX COYOTES: Which city will they be calling home come opening night?

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Will the defending champs be saddled with the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover?

SAN JOSE SHARKS: Can they ever shake their rep as playoff chokers?

ST. LOUIS BLUES: Is T.J. Oshie destined for stardom?

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Are Vinny Lecavalier's days in the Sunshine State numbered?

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: Will the penalty box at the Air Canada Centre be expanded to accommodate the Bay St. Bullies?

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Will Roberto Luongo rebound from his lukewarm postseason performance against the Hawks?

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Is second-year goaltender Semyon Varlamov the real deal?

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ON THE HOTSEAT

- RAY EMERY (Flyers): Philly fans chew up goalies as if they were cheese steaks, a common theme in the post-Bernie Parent era. Now here comes Emery, whose eccentric behaviour left him playing in Russia last season. Potential trouble here.

- SEAN AVERY (Rangers): The combustible John Tortorella finally snapped at Avery's antics during the playoffs, benching him for a game. Introducing the modern day Odd Couple.

- DON WADDELL (Thrashers): Atlanta has played four post-season games in franchise history, winning zero. The clock is ticking on the personable GM.

- BOB GAINEY: (Canadiens): This rebuild had better work, or he could be out the bleu, blanc et rouge door.

- PATRICK MARLEAU (Sharks): Stripped of his captaincy recently, a change of scenery might be in the cards.

NO EUROPEAN VACATION

Excuse Florida Panthers' coach Peter DeBoer, Detroit's Mike Babcock, St. Louis Blues bench boss Andy Murray and Chicago's Joel Quenneville if they harbour a sliver of trepidation heading into their regular-season opening games in Europe. History shows they have reason to fret. A year ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins kicked off the 2008-09 campaign in Prague and Stockholm respectively. By the end of the season, all four teams had fired their coaches.

Not a good omen for DeBoer, Babcock, Murray and Quenneville.

On the other hand, playing abroad wasn't all bad luck. The Pens, after all, did go on to win the Stanley Cup under the guidance of Dan Bylsma, who replaced Michel Therrien as head coach midway through the season.

The Wings and Blues will face off in Stockholm on Oct. 1 and 2, while the Panthers and Hawks will meet on those same two dates in Helsinki.

TAMPA TRIBULATIONS

The Lightning did a nice job adding veteran Mattias Ohlund, rookie Victor Hedman and reliable Kurtis Foster to a weak defence, then snapping up forward Alex Tanguay. Yet just when you think the Lightning is getting its act together, co-owner Len Barrie was denying allegations concerning a potential misappropriation of funds from Bear Mountain Resort, a project he headed up in B.C. The more things change in Tampa, the more they stay the same.

THE SNUB CLUB

Marc Savard (Bruins) and Jason Spezza (Sens) top the list of players snubbed from the Canadian Olympic team orientation camp in Calgary last month. Spezza, who was originally excluded, got a late invite only after Ryan Getzlaf had to back out due to injury. Team Canada boss Steve Yzerman has left the door open for any player not invited to the camp to still make the squad if they have an outstanding first half.

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ODDS AND ENDS

According to VegasInsider.com, the Red Wings (6-1) are the favourites to win the Stanley Cup followed by the Penguins (7-1), Bruins (9-1), Sharks (10-1) and Caps (12-1).

The Canucks (15-1), Flames (18-1), Habs (20-1), Sens (35-1), Oilers (50-1) and Leafs (60-1) round out the Canadian teams. The worst odds belong to the Islanders and Lightning at 100-1.

Here are the complete Las Vegas odds to win the 2009-10 Stanley Cup:

TEAM ODDS

Detroit Red Wings 6/1

Pittsburgh Penguins 7/1

Boston Bruins 9/1

San Jose Sharks 10/1

Washington Capitals 10/1

Chicago Blackhawks 12/1

Vancouver Canucks 15/1

Philadelphia Flyers 15/1

New Jersey Devils 15/1

Calgary Flames 18/1

Carolina Hurricanes 20/1

Montreal Canadiens 20/1

Anaheim Ducks 25/1

N.Y. Rangers 25/1

St. Louis Blues 30/1

Buffalo Sabres 30/1

Florida Panthers 30/1

Columbus Blue Jackets 35/1

Dallas Stars 35/1

Ottawa Senators 35/1

Minnesota Wild 40/1

Nashville Predators 40/1

Edmonton Oilers 50/1

Atlanta Thrashers 50/1

Los Angeles Kings 60/1

Toronto Maple Leafs 60/1

Phoenix Coyotes 75/1

Colorado Avalanche 75/1

N.Y. Islanders 100/1

Tampa Bay Lightning 100/1


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