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THN.com Blog: Sweet 16 questions

Alex Ovechkin's and Ilya Kovalchuk's teams are headed in different directions. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Alex Ovechkin's and Ilya Kovalchuk's teams are headed in different directions. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Hey…want in on a poorly kept non-secret?

Here’s the scoop: We’re working on The Hockey News Yearbook right now and, thus, are enjoying some sneak peeks ahead to the 2008-09 season. 

But as NHL teams scurried about trying to find all the answers for the upcoming campaign, some clubs still have a lot of questions.

Here are 16 points to ponder:

Atlanta – How long will Ilya Kovalchuk stick around if the Thrashers stink again?

Boston – Remember Patrice Bergeron? Keep an eye on the young B’s center to see how he fares in returning from concussion symptoms that kept him out of 72 games, plus the playoffs, last season.

Calgary –
On paper, the Flames match up with any team in the league. Mike Keenan’s charges didn’t come close to tapping their potential last season, though. Is more disappointment in store?

Chicago –
Can the Hawks make the playoffs for the first time since 2002 (and only the second time since 1998)?

Colorado – Yay or nay, Joe? It says here Sakic will come back for one more year.

Dallas – Do the Stars have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup? (If they don’t, what about their divisional rivals, the San Jose Sharks?)

Florida – Will the Panthers ever make the playoffs again? (Seriously.)

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Montreal – Can the team that overachieved in 2007-08 do it again in 2008-09, its 100th season in the NHL?

New Jersey – Martin Brodeur, are you ready for an 11th consecutive season of 70-plus starts? The Devils hope so.

Rangers – How can they be a better team after losing Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery and, presumably, Brendan Shanahan?

Ottawa – Can Martin Gerber carry the load in goal? (If not, do the Senators completely collapse?)

Pittsburgh – What have you got planned for an encore, Sid and Gino?

San Jose – Can Dan Boyle and Rob Blake lead the Sharks deep, deep, deep into the playoffs?

Tampa Bay – Which of the team’s 15 NHL forwards are going to move back and play defense?

Toronto – Are the post-Mats Leafs doomed to be doormats?

Washington – Can Alex Ovechkin score 80 goals?

Sam McCaig is The Hockey News' senior copy editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears weekly.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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