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Fueled by painful memory, Sharks start chase anew

Sunday, 09.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The San Jose Sharks are used to bouncing back after coming up short in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they've never had to rebound from as painful or humiliating of a loss as they sustained last season in the Western Conference First Round against the Los Angeles Kings.

After winning the first three games of the series, the Sharks lost four straight to the Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. The Sharks had a long, painful and, at times, dysfunctional offseason as Joe Thornton was stripped of his captaincy and alternate captain Patrick Marleau had his "A" removed as well.

"I think our minds still take us back to the playoffs, and they should, although I'd like us to eventually not forget about it but move on," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "But certainly, starting camp, there's a reflection period where we start thinking about how we finished the season and how the level of play that we competed in the last four games wasn't where it needed to be, and that's still there."

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Blackhawks ready to go after playoff disappointment

Sunday, 09.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

CHICAGO -- Four months later, it remains a goal that stings the Chicago Blackhawks.

Scored by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez 5:47 into overtime of Game 7 in the 2014 Western Conference Final, it sent the Kings to the Stanley Cup and left the Blackhawks with a summer of "what ifs?" to ponder.

What if they'd protected those two-goal leads in that game? What if defenseman Nick Leddy's stick hadn't been knocked to the ice seconds before Kings forward Justin Williams retrieved the puck and sent it out to Martinez?

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Center depth, goaltending key issues for Blackhawks

Sunday, 09.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The Chicago Blackhawks make no secret about their goal for this season and beyond.

They're out to add a sixth Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters at United Center, and they have a roster with enough talent to do it. After falling one goal short of playing for the Cup in back-to-back seasons, the Blackhawks are rejuvenated and ready for another season to begin.

In order to achieve their goal this season, they'll need to make sure these three things happen:

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Chicago's Versteeg healthy, ready to redeem himself

Sunday, 09.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

If anyone on the Chicago Blackhawks needed the offseason, it was right wing Kris Versteeg.

The 2013-14 season wasn't one he'd like to remember too much, except for the fact he returned from major knee surgery. Otherwise, the versatile 28-year old had a season that could best be described as turbulent.

"Time off physically and mentally always helps," Versteeg said shortly after the Blackhawks opened training camp. "I wasn't good last year and you always try to bounce back from years like that and come back better, so it was nice to have time off."

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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday