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Pittsburgh learned it would be without star defenseman Kris Letang until next season because of a herniated disc in his neck.

After winning it all last June, the team had a short summer to recover physically. Then six of its best players — Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray, Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin, and Olli Maatta — ramped things up early, and missed most of training camp, by participating in the World Cup of Hockey. The 82-game Battle Royale of a regular season in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division followed, with assorted injuries taking a toll along the way.

The Penguins grinded their way to 50 wins, 111 points and the second-best record in the NHL, despite incredible wear and tear on their minds and bodies.

It’s been an exhausting season, maybe even more so mentally than physically, Penguins forward Carl Hagelin admitted to Sporting News late in the year.

Before the first puck even dropped on the postseason, Pittsburgh learned it would be without star defenseman Kris Letang until next season because of a herniated disc in his neck. A lower body injury suffered by Murray in warmups ahead of the playoff opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets was another ominous sign that back-to-back titles might not be attainable.

The problem is Jagr turns 46 midway through next season. Only Gordie Howe and Chris Chelios played beyond their 46th birthdays. The NHL has gone increasingly younger and faster while Jagr is older and slower, but his 46 points still ranked fourth on the Panthers last season.

The future Hall of Famer feels he has a 24th season to give if a team will take it. Florida and Philadelphia publicly stated it won’t be with them, but Jagr still makes sense as a veteran locker room presence and marketing darling for a team like the Golden Knights. Call the man.

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Jake Arrieta: I’m with Cubs ‘for one more year’

Jake Arrieta could be headed for a $200 million contract after the 2017 season, but it sounds like it won’t be with the Cubs.

According to Chicago radio station WSCR, the 2016 Cy Young Award winner seemed resigned to the fact he may be headed out of the Windy City.

The timeline is kind of coming to an end as far as as leading up to free agency, Arrieta said. I am here for one more year, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it.

Jones was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and harassment with a bodily substance for his alleged actions early Jan. 3 beginning at a downtown hotel and later at the Hamilton County Jail. The harassment with a bodily substance charge issued after Jones allegedly spit on a jail nurse could have resulted in a one-year prison sentence had he been convicted.

The nurse is pursuing a civil case against Jones, which Deters indicated was a factor in not pursuing the criminal charge.

Jones, 33, found himself in hot water for a number of off-field incidents early in his career but has managed to stay out of trouble since joining the Bengals in 2010. He was previously suspended by the NFL for the entire 2007 season and part of 2008.

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