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The Detroit Red Wings head into the season with the potential for distractions off the ice as their head coach, Mike Babcock, enters the final year of his contract and concern about injuries on it.
While Babcock's situation is unlikely to go away, as he would be in high demand were he to be available after the season begins, the fact that a couple of the team's stars missed so many games last year is a bigger concern.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each played just 45 games last year, the lowest marks in their respective careers. The Red Wings can't afford to have two of their top players miss so much time.
The flip side to those injuries was it gave Detroit a chance to give valuable playing time to some of its younger players. They are an aging team that needs to develop some of its young talent to carry on their winning tradition.
The Red Wings have reached the postseason an unprecedented 23 straight years. Can they make it 24? It won't be easy, but so long as injuries aren't a major issue, they should extend their streak.
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