Five questions for NHL opening night

Jonathan Daniel

A daily feature which asks the five hardest-hitting questions imaginable about this day in the NHL. Will our quandaries be answered? (That doesn't count as one of the five questions.)

1. How effective will the injured members of the Chicago Blackhawks fare?

Corey Crawford, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus are expected to play in Tuesday night's opener against the Washington Capitals. Crawford will get the start in net, while Handzus and Hossa will play on the second line with Patrick Sharp. However, all three players are battling some varying degree of injury, with Crawford and Handzus dealing with lower-body issues, while Hossa is recovering from an issue with a disc in his back. Are the players ready to handle the complete extent of their responsibilities?

2. What about Brooks Laich?

Poor Brooks Laich. After battling a year of injuries last season, Laich was injured almost immediately after training camp started. He stated on Tuesday that he will be playing against Chicago and that he is fully healthy. Is he really? How will he play?

3. How will Danny Briere perform in his debut in a Canadiens jersey?

Briere recently said he will be living a dream when he dresses for his childhood team, the Montreal Canadiens, on Tuesday night. Briere is a player who has historically been a prominent offensive contributor, but has had a tough time producing over the past few seasons (mainly because of injury). Will he do anything of note in his Montreal debut?

4. The first shot in the Maple Leafs goaltender competition

One of the biggest story lines in one of hockey's biggest cities, the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender battle will formally begin with incumbent James Reimer protecting the Maple Leafs crease in the season opener against Montreal. How's Reimer gonna play?

5. Oil change or Oil spill?

It's the first game of the year, but expectations are high for the Edmonton Oilers. Taylor Hall is expected to play center with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner out of the lineup. Facing the Winnipeg Jets (who have lofty expectations of their own this season), the Oilers will look to start the year on a strong note. Will they?

More from SB Nation NHL:

Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs agree to 8-year deal

Stanley Cup odds for 2013-14

Kovalchuk injured after running into teammate

Team USA will announce roster at Winter Classic

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