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Joe Nieuwendyk's retirement didn't last long.

Forced off the ice in December by a back injury, Nieuwendyk returned to the Panthers organization Thursday. Jacques Martin, the team's coach and general manager, named him a special consultant.

Nieuwendyk will attend the NHL combine next month in Toronto and the NHL draft in Columbus in June.

"I'm fired up about it," he said. "I'm passionate about trying to help this franchise win, and turn it around."

Nieuwendyk played for five teams during his 20-year career, winning Stanley Cups with Calgary (1989), Dallas (1999) and New Jersey (2002). He ranks 19th on the all-time list in goals with 564 and 49th in points with 1,126.

He said Dallas was among several teams with whom he discussed employment but chose to stay in Florida.

"I firmly believe it's a good situation here," he said.

"I really like the market. There's good fans here. I don't think there's any reason we can't fill the building, put a better team on the ice, make the playoffs. And I want to be a part of that."

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