To help you with planning, the following is planned ahead of the NHL season that opens Oct. 7. Please contact Dave Zelio (dzelio(at)ap.org) with questions. AP stories and accompanying photos also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com.
Individual team previews will be sent on the following dates (each story will be approximately 600 words and accompanied by a 200-word team capsule):
Eastern Conference teams, Monday Oct. 5
Western Conference teams, Tuesday, Oct. 6.
We will also be moving enterprise stories, including:
After the Chicago Blackhawks raised the Stanley Cup on home ice to celebrate their third title in six years, they had to spend the summer figuring out how to pay for it. That meant parting ways with several key players on their championship roster, which left the NHL race looking remarkably wide open heading into the upcoming season. By Hockey Writer Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos on Oct. 4.
With HKN--PLAYERS TO WATCH, 650 words and photos on Oct. 4. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage.
With offseason additions including rookie Jack Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly and goalie Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres will feature the NHL's most radically changed lineup. A look at some of the more prominent players who changed teams this offseason. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 750 words, photos on Oct. 3
NHL teams hoping to make the playoffs walk a fine line in playing their best goaltender enough to keep him sharp while not wearing him out during the season. Long road trips, back-to-back games and a player's health can get in the way. So how much is too much? By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 780 words, photos on Oct. 2.
TORONTO - Mike Babcock left his cottage in Saskatchewan earlier than he ever had last summer, putting water skis away and packing his bags because he faces his toughest task in the NHL. And, the Toronto Maple Leafs are paying him well to get to work. The Original Six franchise, seeking its first Stanley Cup in nearly a half-century and its second playoff appearance since 2004, lured Babcock away from Detroit with a $50 million, eight-year deal that Gary Bettman acknowledged raised eyebrows among the league's owners. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos on Sept. 24.
There was a time when NHL teams put tough guys on the fourth line for a few minutes to rough up opponents. These days, fourth-line forwards can skate and score and play more than 10 minutes a game. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 500 words, photos on Sept. 21.
ARLINGTON, Va. - A day after turning 30, Alex Ovechkin opened training camp with the Washington Capitals for his 11th NHL season. If the guy known as ''Ovi'' was blase about the milestone birthday - ''Next year, it's going to be 31,'' he noted with a shrug - his attitude about entering his second decade in the league took on a far more serious tone. Washington hasn't won more than one series in any postseason since Ovechkin joined the team. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 640 words, photos on Sept. 18.
HKN--NHL CAMPS OPEN
NHL training camps open this week, and Commissioner Gary Bettman is proud of the parity across the league. There is also a host of things to watch this season, from 3-on-3 overtimes to the addition of concussion ''spotters' at every game. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 750 words, photos on Sept. 17.
EDMONTON, Alberta - Minutes before Connor McDavid emerged from beneath the stands and hit the ice for practice, the Edmonton Oilers' brain trust were already in their seats at Rexall Place. It was early July and just the second day of the Oilers' highly-anticipated rookie orientation camp, where McDavid was once again drawing a crowd. All eyes are on the 18-year-old forward, a can't miss player and the No. 1 pick. He is also the No. 1 reason why the Oilers seem suddenly poised for a revival after missing the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons - the NHL's longest active drought. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 850 words, photos on Sept. 11.
Buffalo Sabres fans have taken a liking to ''Eich.'' As consolations prizes go, the Sabres landed a player with the potential to make an immediate impact in Jack Eichel, who was drafted second overall behind Connor McDavid. And there is a host of other young stars to watch when training camps begin next week. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 600 words, photos on Sept. 11.