To help you with planning, here are some details for NHL coverage from the AP before the regular season begins on Oct. 3. Please contact Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org) or call 212-621-1630 with any questions. This advisory will be updated and dates are subject to change. All times U.S. Eastern.
Adds HKN--TV CHANGES (Oct. 2), HKN--SEATTLE BREWING (Oct. 1).
The AP will provide a roundup of all preseason games across the league each day/night.
CHICAGO — The NHL and NHL Players’ Association can each vote in September 2019 to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement and set up the potential for another work stoppage. With a year left, issues like escrow payments and the Olympics are moving to the forefront of discussions. Some players even have contract protections in place just in case there is a lockout in 2020. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 16.
HKN--NO CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
Even with young star Auston Matthews and longtime Islanders captain John Tavares in the fold, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in no rush to name a captain. The team that hasn’t had one since early 2016. But what’s in a “C″ exactly? For a sport rooted in the tradition of captains, a third of NHL teams could go into opening night without one. Hockey players still believe in the value of one captain, but that theory is being tested. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos, video on Sept. 18.
The decision by John Tavares to become a free agent is not yet a model for other NHL stars to follow. Tyler Seguin of Dallas says the move by Tavares to test the market did not inspire him. He hopes a contract extension with the Stars gets done before the season. But others like Matt Duchene of Ottawa at least have something to think about after Tavares signed with the Maple Leafs and broke the mold. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 7.
The NHL is going back to old favorites this season for the Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium and the Stadium Series game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field. It’ll be the sixth outdoor game for the Blackhawks, fifth for the Penguins, fourth for the Flyers and third for the Bruins. While eight teams haven’t gotten that chance, those days could be approaching. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 6.
Hockey fans have often criticized NBC’s coverage for not showing more of the NHL’s young stars and the up-and-coming teams. That changes when the season opens on Wednesday as the network goes with a new approach. NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalries has been replaced by Wednesday Night Hockey. As part of the repackaging, the network’s studio crew will occasionally report on site, starting on Wednesday from Washington when the Capitals begin defense of their title against Boston. By Joe Reedy. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m. Oct. 2.
T.J. Oshie can’t wait for his family to not need a trip to Vancouver to see him play close to home. Tom Bissett, the only Seattle-born player to make the NHL, says seeing a game in his hometown would be a bucket-list event. As the prospective owners of a Seattle expansion team present their case to the board of governors’ executive committee Tuesday, the excitement is brewing for what looks like an inevitability of NHL hockey in the Emerald City. By Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 800 words, file photos by 2 p.m. Oct. 1.
Previews for U.S. teams, in a ‘things to know’ format, were sent on Sept. 25 along with capsules for all 31 teams. Stories, with photos, were approximately 650 words, capsules about 300 words.
In a copycat league, the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup run showed no team’s championship window is ever really closed and only perpetuated the notion that just getting in the playoffs is enough. The Penguins are motivated to get back on top, the Lightning should be right in the middle of their peak contending years and the Blackhawks and Kings have the high-end talent to crank theirs wide open again. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 30.
After the Washington Capitals cracked the second round and became Stanley Cup champions, the rest of the Eastern Conference will make it tough for them to get back to the final. Sidney Crosby is one of the most motivated players in the NHL, the Maple Leafs added John Tavares, the Bruins are young and healthy and the Lightning are smack dab in the middle of their title window. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 26.
The Vegas Golden Knights tried to improve their chances of repeating as Western Conference champions, signing free agent center Paul Stastny and acquiring forward Max Pacioretty. Vegas will have a lot of obstacles in its pursuit of the Stanley Cup. Nashville, Winnipeg and San Jose are just a few of the teams to beat in the loaded conference. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 27.
John Tavares immediately tipped the balance of power in the NHL by signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving them a one-two punch down the middle with Auston Matthews. The Maple Leafs are the best bet to end Canada’s Stanley Cup drought that dates to 1993, but the Winnipeg Jets went to the Western Conference final last season and are poised to make another run. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos by noon Sept. 27. With HKN--CANADA PREVIEW-CAPSULES, sent Sept. 25.
CHICAGO — An informal poll of NHL players leaves no doubt as to who the most popular referee is: Veteran Wes McCauley. Known to fans for his demonstrative penalty calls and announcements, it’s the way he interacts with players and coaches that make him stand out in a fast sport where officials are prone to mistakes. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept. 19.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — NHL players aren’t the only ones needing training camp to prepare for the start of the season. The league’s 80-plus on-ice officials gathered last week for their annual five-day camp which included video sessions, pick-up games and even a few self-deprecating jokes about some of them needing glasses. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept. 19.
Connor McDavid is the near-unanimous choice around the NHL as the fastest player, so remarkable his colleagues can’t explain how he does it. But it’s his Allen Iverson-like crossover move on ice that he built as a kid on rollerblades that really sets him apart. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos Oct 1
As the New Jersey Devils practice in Switzerland and play an exhibition game in Bern, the spotlight is on homegrown star Nico Hischier. The 2017 No. 1 pick is the latest in a suddenly long line of skilled Swiss forwards, a development for a country that previously only produced goalies and defensemen. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 650 words, file photos Sept. 29.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres 18-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin certainly knows how to draw a crowd. The NHL’s No. 1 draft pick joked he’s no longer surprised about how many Sabres fans have packed the team’s practice facility simply to watch him practice in a belief Dahlin represents a more hopeful future for a franchise that has finished last in three of the past five years. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 28.
DENVER -- Mention a subject, just about any subject, and sharp-shooting Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon takes his elusiveness to whole new level. Not appearing on the cover of NHL’s latest video game? “Don’t care,” he responded. The pressure of becoming one of the faces of the game after a 97-point season? “Feels normal,” the top pick in the 2013 draft quips. Another level to his game? “Hopefully a few,” he said. Turns out MacKinnon isn’t just fast on the ice: He’s not speeding away from the spotlight he’s earned through his electrifying game. He is just highly focused on helping Colorado return to the playoffs after a stirring run a year ago behind their young superstar. By Pat Graham. SENT: 750 words, photos Sept. 23.
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes want big things out of their two most recent first-round draft picks, Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov. But the heat isn’t on those teenagers — instead, it’s on those who put them in that spot. “The pressure’s on us,” first-year coach Rod Brind’Amour said. By Joedy McCreary. SENT: 600 words, photos Sept. 20.
— HKN--HURRICANES-NEW LOOK DEFENSE. By Joedy McCreary. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept. 4.
HKN--PREDATORS-BEST IN THE WEST?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Predators captain Roman Josi heard about San Jose trading for Erik Karlsson just before talking with reporters at the start of Nashville’s training camp. Yep, the Predators haven’t even raised the banner yet for winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best team last season, and it’s already ancient history — at least in the arms’ race that is the Western Conference. The pace has only quickened as NHL teams open camps despite all the trades last season and all the moves this offseason. By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 13.
CHICAGO — Nick Schmaltz has shown marked improvement in each of his first two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. Another big leap forward from the former first-round draft pick out of the University of North Dakota could help the Blackhawks return to the playoffs after finishing last in the Central Division. By Jay Cohen. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 15.
NEW YORK — The New York Islanders know they are being overlooked after finishing 17 points out of a playoff spot last season and losing captain John Tavares to free agency during the summer. That’s ok with them. They still have plenty of scoring options, led by Anders Lee and reigning rookie of the year Mathew Barzal, and added a Stanley Cup winning coach in Barry Trotz and three-time champion executive Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 13.
NEW YORK — Henrik Lundqvist is entering his 14th season in the NHL, having spent his entire career with the New York Rangers. And although the team is in a rebuilding mode for a future run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1994, the 36-year-old goalie wants to stick around and be a part of that process. After being slowed by a knee injury last offseason, Lundqvist says he is 100 percent heading into this season. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 17.
— HKN--REBUILDING RANGERS. By Vin. A Cherwoo. SENT: 700 words, photos Sept. 14.
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo has an arena named after him. He has made roughly $100 million in his career, knows he is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame one day and he ranks among the sport’s all-time leaders in virtually every goaltending category. His legacy was secure long ago. He doesn’t need to play anymore. Yet here he is, at 39 years old, working harder than ever, still trying to get his hands on the Stanley Cup for the first time. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 800 words, photos Sept. 12.
HKN--COYOTES-HOCKEY’S DESERT GROWTH
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona is rapidly becoming one of the NHL’s fastest-growing hockey markets. Participation is up and rinks are being built around the state to invigorate a once-dormant hockey scene. The Arizona Coyotes have helped increase participation and the rise of NHL star Auston Matthews has also provided a big boost. By John Marshall. SENT: 700 words, photos Aug. 23.
Major moves were made early in the offseason, starting with coach Barry Trotz going from helping Washington win the Stanley Cup to leaving to lead the New York Islanders. The Toronto Maple Leafs made the biggest splash in free agency, landing former Islanders star John Tavares. On the eve of training camp, it was all about the West as San Jose acquired two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson and Vegas traded for veteran forward Max Pacioretty. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept 26.
Barry Trotz is taking his Stanley Cup ring to the New York Islanders, while Washington Capitals replacement Todd Reirden sits in an unusual situation taking over a champion. The expectations are high on Reirden, new Stars coach Jim Montgomery and new Flames coach Bill Peters and less on Trotz and new Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept. 27.
HKN--PLAYERS TO WATCH
The buzz around the NHL for months has been about smooth-skating Rasmus Dahlin in Buffalo. But other players to watch this season include Ryan Donato in Boston, Brady Tkachuk in Ottawa, Erik Karlsson with his new teammates in San Jose and Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the NHL in Los Angeles. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 650 words, photos Sept. 28.