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CHICAGO (AP) -- When it was all over - all the days with the Stanley Cup, the trades, the free-agent departures - the core of the Chicago Blackhawks just shrugged and went back to work.
There is precious little time for sentiment when you are trying to become the first repeat NHL champion in almost two decades.
"I feel pretty confident," forward Marian Hossa said. "I think we have lots of great players in this dressing room, lots of new faces, but I think there's lots of energy in this room. Lots of guys are hungry, and I think that's important."
Chicago won its third title in six seasons when it defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in June. While the party lasted for much of the summer, the final bill was significant.
The core group of seven players who have their name on the Cup for each of the three titles took a hit when Patrick Sharp was traded to Dallas. Walking a tricky line with the salary cap, the Blackhawks also traded away rising star Brandon Saad and forward Kris Versteeg. Defenseman Johnny Oduya and centers Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette left in free agency.
The offseason turnover was reminiscent of the aftermath of Chicago's 2010 championship, and the Blackhawks lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the next two years. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism this time around.