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New season, new outlook ... same hockey hot seat

Updated: October 9, 2008, 5:42 PM ET
By George Johnson | Special to ESPN.com

These are the blissful days. No extended losing streaks. No coaches feeling the loose hemp of the hangman's noose being slipped around their throats. Today, all 30 teams believe in something. A miracle. A playoff spot. A deep playoff run, given a few breaks. Some, even a Stanley Cup.

That starts changing immediately, as the regular season -- the non-European version -- gets under way Thursday.

In this time of possibilities and unbridled optimism, uncompromised by reality, ...

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