I'm not going to lie, this column won't completely avoid mention of COVID-19 and the NHL's handling of its single-most significant speed bump in the Gary Bettman era. The nightmare, unfortunately, isn't over. But for the first time in a long, long time, it seems the focus when discussing hockey isn't entirely narrowed on managing and considering the associated impact of a global health crisis.
Instead, it's on what's set to happen on the ice.
In fact, when assessing the top storylines heading into the season, we can not only avoid leading with COVID-19, but damn-near bury it.