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, Md. (AP) The NHL’s first outdoor game at a U.S. service academy probably won’t be its last.After the Washington Capitals hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Naval Academy, the league hopes to play games at Army’s West Point and the Air Force Academy over the next few years.It’s a significant foray into honoring and partnering with branches of the military that follows the lead of the NFL and Major League Baseball for a league that’s split between the United States and Canada.”It’s unique and as we continue to move forward with the outdoor games, you look for new concepts and new themes and new things that’ll interest the fans,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Saturday. ”Certainly the hope is, with a successful game (at Navy), we’ll continue the venture with the Army and the Air Force and we’ll see where we go from there.”Daly said he’d be surprised if the sequel to Maple Leafs-Capitals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium comes as soon as the 2018-19 season, though 2019-20 is a possibility. The Florida Panthers faced the New Jersey Devils inside in an exhibition game at West Point’s Tate Rink in 2006, and ownership connections to the Army make the Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights strong candidates for a potential outdoor game there.American-born players taking part in the game at Navy said they were honored to get the opportunity. Told of the NHL’s future plans to attempt games at Army and Air Force, Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey called it ”a great road for us to go down.””It’s a nice recognition and a little partnership almost that we’re able to play here,” American-born Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”I think means different things to different people. As a country, it means a lot, especially the Americans that play in the league and our fans.”The NHL has 24 American- and seven Canadian-based teams and is made up of about 49 percent Canadian-born players. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces took part in pregame ceremonies with the Maple Leafs, and Daly said involving a team from north of the 48th parallel was a conscious decision that didn’t meet any resistance.”I think North American forces are united,” Daly said. ”I think there’s a real appreciation for the military wherever you are Womens Torey Krug Jersey
, north or south of the border. While it was something we certainly thought about, it certainly hasn’t been something that’s been an obstacle at all.”When Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native Mike Babcock moved to Spokane, Washington, he recalled the deep connections to the military from those stationed at nearby Fairchild Air Force Base or just residents who served or knew someone who was in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. So he’s very attuned to the comparisons and contrasts for the military in the United States and Canada.”When you talk to families in the U.S., there seems to be someone in every family that’s had someone in the family,” the Maple Leafs’ coach said. ”When you do it in Canada, we don’t have as big a military, so we haven’t had that same thing. That doesn’t mean we don’t have tons of people doing a really good job and doing everything they can.”Babcock said he didn’t know how the NHL would make an outdoor game work at a place like the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, and Daly acknowledged the service academies are different in the United States. They also provide the kind of outdoor venues that fit hockey well.”It’s just a different atmosphere Tuukka Rask Jersey
,” Capitals defenseman John Carlson said before playing at 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. I think football stadiums and baseball stadiums, which I’ve played in, they’re amazing. But to have a kind of unique atmosphere and history to this place and from a fan’s point of view the sightlines and all that are way better at a place like this than a 60,000-seat football field.”Being part of a historic atmosphere is one thing players, American and otherwise, cited as an added value to this Stadium Series game.”As Americans, I’m sure if you’re from a different country, it probably doesn’t quite feel that way, but for us it does feel really special,” Capitals right winger T.J. Oshie said. ”It’s great for the NHL, it’s great for hockey and it’s great for the Americans that are able to play in the games.”The NFL has partnered with the military for years, and the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in 2016. The NHL is now wading into those waters with more to come.”The recognition that (servicemen and women) deserve, I guess Zdeno Chara Jersey
, is probably a lot more than everyone’s doing,” Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner said. ”To play some sporting events at places like this is pretty cool.”— The Los Angeles Kings will try to avoid their longest losing streak in nearly 11 years when they begin a seven-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.The Kings (2-7-1) have lost six in a row and haven’t led at any point during that streak. Los Angeles hasn’t lost seven in a row since an eight-game skid in January 2008.“Losing in this game is not enjoyable,” Kings coach John Stevens told reporters after a 4-1 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. “We’re in this business to win, so at the end of the day, results are two points whether you do good things or don’t do good things.”Article continues below ...The Rangers (3-6-1) are also looking for improvement after coach David Quinn said they played their worst game of the season on Thursday night in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, which opened a four-game road trip.New York was outshot 37-19 and produced just one shot on goal in the third period.“We’ve done a good job of skating and competing, but that certainly wasn’t the case tonight,” Quinn said.The Kings should get a boost with the return of right winger Dustin Brown, who broke a finger in the final preseason game and has been sidelined since. Brown, who will turn 34 on Nov. 4, scored a career-high 61 points last season and was plus-31 in 81 games.Brown’s offensive abilities couldn’t arrive at a better time. The Kings haven’t scored more than two goals in each of their past six losses, and haven’t led since a 3-0 win on Oct. 11 at the Montreal Canadiens.“We’ve just got to bear down offensively, especially in the blue paint, inside the dots Eric Fehr Jersey Womens
,” Stevens said. “Those are the areas, I think, that we can come up with some more pucks if we get a few more pucks to the net. You can’t play perfect. You can’t win 1-0 every night. It’s tough to win that way.”The Kings will likely be up against veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, in his 14th NHL season.Lundqvist has started eight of 10 games this season and owns a 2-5-1 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.Lundqvist has struggled at Staples Center in recent years, however.He lost all three of his starts in Los Angeles during the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals and the Kings won the series in five games. He has lost both appearances at Staples Center since those Finals as well, giving up seven goals on 66 shots (.894 save percentage).Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid left in the first period of the loss to Chicago with an unspecified injury and his availability against the Kings is in doubt. Tony DeAngelo, another right-shot defenseman, would likely slide into the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch the past six games.The Kings are hoping the next seven games on their home ice will help turn their season around.“We always want to be a good home team, so no better time to go home than right now and get things back on track,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said.