With matches already shaking things up this week as the The NHL (National Hockey League) 2022-23 season kicks off, we take a look at some highlights from our new partner USA TODAY Network.

Being one of the most international sports federations in North America, the NHL has its eyes on players like Alexander Ovechkin from Russia as he nears his 800-goal milestone for the Washington Capitals, and the North Macedonian forward Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay Lightning nearing 500 goals and ranked just under Ovechkin and the Canadian Sidney Crosby. 

Germany has also blessed the NHL with players like Nico Sturm who won the Stanley Cup with Colorado Avalanche last season but was swiftly traded to the San Jose Sharks over in California. Also on our radar are Tim Stützle who had his contract with the Ottawa Senators extended eight more years, and Cologne-native Leon Draisaitl who helped bring the Edmonton Oilers to the Conference Finals last season and already collected three points in his season opener on Wednesday, joined by Canadian teammate Connor McDavid completing the 700th hat-trick of his career. 

See IMAGO’s curated picture desk NHL coverage.

IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Perry Nelson | Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) skates during warmups against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. October 12, 2022.

This week, Stanley Cup winners Colorado Avalanche won their season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks but were defeated on Thursday by the Calgary Flames. If the Avalanche win this season’s Stanley Cup, they will be the third back-to-back champions in the last seven years, next to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avalanche, currently ranked third in the Western Conference behind the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators, carry the pressure of a consecutive Stanley Cup win on their backs. 

In the Eastern Conference this season, we are looking out for the Toronto Maple Leafs who hold the record for the longest active drought, having 54 seasons without a Stanley Cup behind them; the Florida Panthers whose new star Matthew Tkachuk helped bring home their season opener victory, the Buffalo Sabres who have not reached the postseason in 11 years, and the Boston Bruins ranked up top.

IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Sergei Belski | Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) controls the puck in front of Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov. October 13, 2022.

With sports photography being difficult enough, ice hockey is no exception as photographers navigate having to closely follow a tiny hockey puck sliding at lightning speed between players clad in hefty padding, a drowning icy-white background, violent brawls between players and infamously rowdy fans.

One of IMAGO’s newest partners USA TODAY Network is now bringing extensive sports coverage of the NHL as we look at some highlights from our picture desk of the 2022-23 season-kick off, celebrating the art of ice-hockey-photography.

IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / James Guillory | Carolina Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis (24) warms up before the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Eric Bolte | Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray (30) tracks the puck during the second period of the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Timothy T. Ludwig | Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) waits for the linesman to drop the puck for a face-off during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. October 13, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Christopher Hanewinckel | Dallas Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa (2) and Nashville Predators left wing Tanner Jeannot (84) fight during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. October 13, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Charles LeClaire | Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. October 13, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Geoff Burke | Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) celebrates with teammates after scoring an empty net goal against the Washington Capitals in the third periodat Capital One Arena. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Timothy T. Ludwig | Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson (41) sprays himself with water before a game against the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center. October 13, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Ron Chenoy | Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) defends his net against Chicago Blackhawks center Andreas Athanasiou (89) in the first period at Ball Arena. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Ron Chenoy | Colorado Avalanche fans cheer following a goal scored in the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Ball Arena. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Danny Wild | Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) warms up before the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. October 11, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Perry Nelson | Edmonton Oilers are introduced to fans prior to the start of the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. October 12, 2022.
IMAGO/USA TODAY Network
IMAGO / USA TODAY Network / Geoff Burke | Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates onto the ice during player introductions prior to the Capitals game against the Boston Bruins on opening night at Capital One Arena. 12 October, 2021.