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A tragic summer for the NHL: Plane crash, enforcer deaths put somber tone on hockey world
For the NHL, an already dark summer just became unimaginably worse.
From Anaheim to Montreal, the world's best players struggled Wednesday to comprehend a shocking loss to their sport as a Russian plane carrying the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crashed, killing several NHL veterans in one of the worst air disasters in sports history.
Many players heard about the accident on their way back to work. Training camps are nearly open, and every club radiates optimism for the season ahead.
But last season ended with embarrassing riots in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup finals, and the league then spent much of the summer in self-examination after enforcers Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak died less than four months apart.