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For 2009-10, look beyond the schedule

Updated: August 12, 2009, 6:26 PM ET
By Terry Frei | Special to ESPN.com

It sneaks up, doesn't it?

There probably are some North Americans who haven't changed their car's oil since the last time the NHL was involved in the Olympic tournament at the 2006 Torino Games. Even the 2002 Canada-USA final in Salt Lake City seems as if it happened a couple of years ago … at most.

Yet we're six months out from the NHL's fourth full-fledged participation in the Winter Olympics, this time in Vancouver. The regular-season shutdown will last 14 days, ...

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