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High hopes hinge on Mario's return

Updated: July 20, 2004, 3:23 AM ET
By Scott Burnside | Special to ESPN.com

Patrick After stumbling out of the gate last October, the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed poised to make good on virtually everyone's prediction that they'd become, for all intents and purposes, an American Hockey League team with a nicer dressing room.

Owner and erstwhile superstar Mario Lemieux played in only 10 games due to a hip injury and eventually donned a cloak of silence that rendered him invisible for most of the season. Team officials continued to wrestle with local and state officials ...

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