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Pens hope long summer equals fast start

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby can admit it now: The Pittsburgh Penguins were tired last season, a natural byproduct of becoming the first franchise in two decades to win consecutive Stanley Cups.

And though the Penguins came as close as any team in the last 35 years to capture three straight titles - they recovered from a blah start to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals before falling to Washington - that special gear they relied on so heavily during their run of dominance never materialized.

"Just for whatever reason, shorter summer, mentally not having that desperation level, as a group we were lacking that," Crosby said.

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Preds see no reason to mess with success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators see no reason to make any major changes to a roster that won the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy, not with a group that has been so very close to that elusive Stanley Cup the past two seasons.

"It didn't work out in the playoffs the way we wanted," Nashville captain Roman Josi said. "But we truly believe this team can win a Stanley Cup, and that's why we want to keep this team together."

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Stars ready for fun under Montgomery

DALLAS (AP) This is the third season in a row the Dallas Stars have a different coach and a different style. They're ready to have some fun with the guy fresh out of college.

After the differing approaches of grizzled veterans Lindy Ruff and then Ken Hitchcock in a one-season return of their Stanley Cup-winning coach from two decades ago, there is more of an emphasis on relentless offense with new coach Jim Montgomery in his transition from the college ranks to first-time NHL head coach.

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Panthers try to make - and add - a point

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Florida Panthers have a point to make this season.

A point to make up, too.

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Devils going for more than just playoffs

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Getting to the playoffs isn't going to be good enough for the New Jersey Devils this season. The goals are now higher.

Coming off their worst season in nearly 30 years, the Devils shocked the NHL last year by returning to the postseason for the first time since 2011-12.

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'Hawks eye rebound from missing playoffs

CHICAGO (AP) For all the talk about Corey Crawford and the aging core of the Chicago Blackhawks, coach Joel Quenneville delivered a simple message as the team got back together for the start of a season that could have a dramatic impact on the direction of the franchise.

Bring it, all the time.

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Rebuilding Rangers have modest goals

NEW YORK (AP) Fully into rebuilding, the New York Rangers aren't thinking about a deep playoff run. They simply want to get better.

The Rangers are coming off a year in which they dealt several stars at the trade deadline, finished last in the Metropolitan Division and missed the postseason for the first time in eight years.

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New-look 'Canes eye return to playoffs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Hurricanes have a new owner, general manager, coach and captain.

They hope it all adds up to one more important change: The Hurricanes want to become a playoff team again.

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Vegas, D Theodore agree to 7-year deal

LAS VEGAS (AP) Defenseman Shea Theodore ended his holdout Monday night, agreeing to a seven-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Theodore's deal runs through the 2024-25 season and has an average annual value of $5.2 million.

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Gionta retires after 16 seasons

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) At a mere 5-foot-7, Brian Gionta knew the odds would be long at getting an opportunity to play in the NHL some 20 years ago after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils.

"I never thought it would have lasted as long as it did," Gionta said. "I went into it hoping I could play one NHL game."

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