To help you with planning, some of AP’s NHL coverage plans before the regular season begins Oct. 2. Please contact Dave Zelio (email@example.com) or call 212-621-1630 with any questions. All times U.S. Eastern.
Preseason note: The AP will run a roundup of the day’s preseason games around the NHL, accompanied by photos.
_Previews for all 31 U.S. teams, in a 'things to know' format, were sent Sept. 23. Each was approximately 650 words and accompanied by photos.
Being last in the NHL in early January didn’t stop the St. Louis Blues from making the playoffs and going on to win the Stanley Cup. In a lot of ways, it could make the first half of the season seem useless. Instead, players and coaches believe the Blues illustrated the value of the regular season and how correcting mistakes and peaking at the right time is the recipe to making the climb to the playoffs and beyond. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 25.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are widely considered the team to beat in the Eastern Conference after finishing 21 points ahead of the rest of the NHL, getting swept in the first round and making some offseason changes. The road to the Stanley Cup Final is precarious, though, and is full of teams that improved like Florida and New Jersey and stalwarts like Boston, Pittsburgh and Washington. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 18.
St. Louis had better dig in for its repeat bid: The defending champion Blues will have their hands full in the West, which has talented teams from Vegas to Dallas, Winnipeg, Calgary, Colorado and more. All of them will be trying to keep the Stanley Cup, too, after the East has won it three out of the last four seasons. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 18.
Auston Matthews watched the Toronto Raptors celebrate their NBA title and imagined himself in that spot if and the Maple Leafs can win the Stanley Cup. To do so, they’ll have to get over the first-round hump that has stopped them the past three years. Getting over the hump is the goal for all seven Canadian-based NHL teams, from Montreal trying to get to the playoffs to Western powers Calgary and Winnipeg attempting to move from regular-season to postseason success. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 23.
The St. Louis Blues’ bruising style affected some teams _ like the Boston Bruins, who added size and physicality after losing to them in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. But more than anything, the recent run of Cup champions from Pittsburgh to Washington to St. Louis showed more that teams should cater their game to their strengths. That’s the real blueprint to winning in the playoffs. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m. Sept. 28.
HKN--FILLING THE SEATS
DETROIT _ The Detroit Red Wings are desperately trying to keep fans filing into Little Caesars Arena while the allure of the relatively new facility wears off while the team goes through a painful rebuild. Every other team in the NHL _ and other leagues _ is also trying to give spectators good reason to come to the arena instead of enjoying games on TV from home or the local watering hole. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 24
More than at any point in NHL history, players are crashing the net, and the result is more contact to goaltenders’ heads. It’s a legitimate concern for netminders around the league, especially given the league’s concussion spotters who can pull them from a game and put a backup in cold at any moment. But don’t count on the crease invasions going away any time soon. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos Sept. 20.
The NHL salary cap has put a priority on big-money stars and young players on entry-level contracts. It has consequently squeezed veterans over 30 who are often forced to take one-year prove-it deals or go to training camp on tryout agreements. This is not what players expected when the cap was put in place. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 19.
When NHL training camps opened, roughly a dozen prominent restricted free agents still didn’t have contracts, including Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen. Those absences could hang over their teams for days, weeks or even months and have raised questions about why it’s taken so long to get them signed. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 10. With HKN--TRAINING CAMP PRIMER, top storylines around NHL training camps. 600 words, photos sent Sept. 11.
BUFFALO, N.Y. _ Kristen Welsh tells The Associated Press she's grateful and excited for the chance of being one of the first four female officials to work in an NHL competitive setting. Welsh referred to her debut as a linesman as being an "unbelievable" opportunity, and looks forward to working her second game at the Buffalo Sabres' prospects tournament. She was one of four females assigned by the NHL for the first time to work the ice. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 7
HKN--PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ryan O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward, all while leading the St. Louis Blues to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Peers around the league believe the Cup run showed the world what they’ve known about how dominant O’Reilly can be, but the two-way center feels he has another gear to his game. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 18.
The Florida Panthers landed what was considered the most high-profile prize of this offseason’s coaching carousel in hiring Joel Quenneville. And the Buffalo Sabres made the most outside-the-box choice in hiring Ralph Krueger, who has spent the previous five years running an English soccer team. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 25.
HKN--NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
No. 1 draft pick Jack Hughes is the latest addition to the young and rebuilding New Jersey Devils in leading a promising new crop of newcomers set to enter the NHL this season. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 5 a.m. Oct. 1.
Artemi Panarin, Serge Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene are just some of the familiar faces playing with new teams as the puck drops on the season. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 a.m. Oct. 2.
FRISCO, Texas _ Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry are joining the Dallas Stars after spending of their long careers with the teams that drafted them. Pavelski is an expensive free agent coming off one of his best goal-scoring years in San Jose. Corey Perry quietly signed a low-cost deal for one year after playing the fewest games of his career with Anaheim because of a knee injury. They're trying to help Dallas make back-to-back playoff trips for the first time since 2008. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 725 words, photos Sept. 14.
SAN JOSE, Calif. _ The San Jose Sharks wasted little time in replacing Joe Pavelski as captain, giving the role to Logan Couture even before starting camp. Figuring out who will wear the "C'' on the jersey will be easier than making up for all Pavelski provided the Sharks both on and off the ice. By Josh Dubow. SENT: 725 words, photos Sept. 13.
NEW YORK _ The New York Islanders know about the moves other teams in the Metropolitan Division made in the offseason. But the Islanders return mostly the same roster after finishing second in the division with a 48-27-7 record and reaching the second round of the playoffs. They're confident they can succeed gain in the second year under team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and defensive-minded coach Barry Trotz. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 725 words, photos Sept. 12. With HKN--RETOOLED RANGERS, 700 words, photos sent Sept. 14.
HKN--BLUE JACKETS-MOVING ON
COLUMBUS, Ohio _ The Columbus Blue Jackets hope this season is drama-free after the departure of their biggest stars. But the team has opened training camp looking to fill some jobs. The Blue Jackets were left with a scoring void when free-agent forwards Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene signed with other teams. Columbus also was left with an opening at goalie when Sergei Bobrovsky signed with the Florida Panthers. By Mitch Stacy. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 13.
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