To help you with planning, here are some details for NHL coverage from the AP before the season begins on Oct. 4. Please contact Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org) or call 212-621-1630 with any questions. This advisory will be updated.
Adds HKN–NEW COACHES.
Again this season, AP will provide a roundup of all games across the league each night. An exception: AP will provide separate stories and photos from the final game in China between the LA Kings and Vancouver (Sept. 23).
Previews for U.S. teams, in a five things to know style, will be sent on Sept. 27 along with a capsule for each team. Canadian team previews will move by Oct. 2.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals are no sure bet to be the standard-bearers in the Eastern Conference after significant offseason losses. Just getting into the playoffs in a brutal Metropolitan Division with the improved New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes is a challenge, while the Tampa Bay Lightning look like Cup contenders in the Atlantic. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos on Sept. 25.
For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators will find out how hard it is to defend a Western Conference championship as they begin a quest to earn another shot at hoisting the Stanley Cup. As usual, the West looks stacked, from Anaheim to Dallas to St. Louis to Chicago and Minnesota. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos moving at 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 26.
HKN–STOPPING THE PENGUINS
Each time Seth Jones felt like the Columbus Blue Jackets were dominating, the Penguins went down the ice and scored. The series was over fast and it wasn’t long before Pittsburgh had another Stanley Cup championship. Opportunistic, well-coached and talented, Pittsburgh has won eight consecutive playoff series to become the NHL’s only back-to-back champion of the salary-cap era and the first since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Now everyone’s trying to figure out how to stop the march of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins as they go for the three-peat. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos on Sept. 17.
The National Hockey League is looking to build its visibility in China. It will hold its first two preseason games in the nation of 1.2 billion people, with the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings facing each other in Shanghai and Beijing. With Beijing set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the government is putting a massive emphasis on developing winter sports. Hockey training programs and youth leagues are expanding across China. By Justin Bergman. SENT: 800 words, photos on Sept. 20.
With top players taking up a bigger chunk of salary-cap space and teams relying more on cheaper players on entry-level contracts, the squeeze is on for some established NHL players in their 20s. All it took was a rough season for players like Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes and Alex Chiasson to go unsigned through the summer and need to attend training camp on a professional tryout. It’s the new normal in the NHL where tryouts aren’t just for unproven guys and those over the hill. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos on Sept. 21.
There were nearly 800 slashing minors in the NHL last season with countless others not called. After Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Ottawa’s Marc Methot suffered broken fingers on slashes, the league is putting an emphasis on slashing with on-ice officials and the department of player safety. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos on Sept. 24.
HKN–CROSBY VS MCDAVID
Coming off back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby is widely considered by his peers as the best player in hockey. Crosby has just one true rival in that department: 20-year-old reigning MVP Connor McDavid, whose speed makes him a threat to be the NHL’s best for the next decade or more. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos on Sept. 28.
A stagnant NHL salary cap and an influx of youth-laden talent is shifting the league’s salary structure with the millennials suddenly making the millions. Where once NHL teams spent big on free agency, GMs are now focusing on locking up their young stars, such as Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, to lucrative, long-term contracts. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos on Sept. 29.
Two years ago, no Canadian team made the NHL playoffs, and last spring there were five. This season could include an unprecedented six Canadian teams vying for the Stanley Cup as the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets are leading the country’s new golden age. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos on Oct. 1.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Pekka Rinne embraces his memories of the Nashville Predators’ loss in the Stanley Cup Final, saying he’s not scared of feelings the goaltender sees as fuel for a return to hockey’s biggest stage. But the Finn turns 35 in November, has two seasons left on the $49 million extension he signed back in 2011 and a would-be replacement learning and growing behind him. Playing up to his own standard may be the biggest challenge Rinne is facing now. By Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos on Oct. 1.
PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins don’t consider the weight of history a burden. If anything, the bid to become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s has given head coach Mike Sullivan a motivational tool he plans to use liberally. By Will Graves. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos on Oct. 2.
A generation of hockey players grew up expecting to play for their countries in the Olympics, but for the first time since 1994 the NHL is not participating. This means the season will roll on at the same time as the Games in South Korea in February, a strange scenario for the league’s stars who wish they were there. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos on Oct. 3.
HKN–PLAYERS TO WATCH
Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel says he has plenty to prove after ”two mediocre seasons,” making him among the NHL players to watch this season. Other players to watch include expansion Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and veteran center Patrick Marleau, who left San Jose for Toronto. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 880 words, photos Sept. 18.
The Dallas Stars may led the league in significant moves during their long offseason, putting coach Ken Hitchcock behind their bench again and players such as Ben Bishop and Alexander Radulov on the ice. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 700 words, photos on Sept. 21.
Seven NHL teams hired new coaches in the offseason. That doesn’t include coaches who took over teams during the season a year ago in places like Montreal, St. Louis and Boston. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos on Sept. 23.