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Let me start by thanking all of you who have already subscribed to AZ Coyotes Insider. You have made my transition from The Athletic to my own site surprisingly smooth; a transition that has exceeded my expectations. The Coyotes have played just nine games since I launched this site in July and yet, the growing subscriber base is poised to hit another milestone this week.

I know it has been a tough year for a lot of us. We have lost loved ones. We have lost jobs. We have seen our nation (at least for my American readers) ripped apart by ideological and political divides. I’m hoping for a better 2021, and the Coyotes’ hiring of Shane Doan on Monday has me hopeful that maybe we can get there.

The NHL season begins Wednesday; the Coyotes season begins Thursday. Hockey is back. As I prepare to cover the team for a 16th season as a beat writer, and a 20th season overall, I wanted to reiterate some of my coverage plans and hopes for this season.

In-depth features and analysis: Any reporter can listen in on a Zoom call, a conference call or read a press release and report the news of the day. One of my favorite journalism professors used to call those stories “thumb suckers” because they didn't offer much insight beyond the basic information that was already known. I often use Twitter to report such basics, but I’ll always go deeper with reporting, sourcing and analysis. The piece I wrote on Doan’s return is an example. I spoke to 13 sources for this story, and I had hoped to talk to commissioner Gary Bettman as well, but he was pretty tied up on Monday. Something about the start of a unique NHL season.

The Big Read: Speaking of in-depth pieces, my Sunday reads are usually devoted to diving even deeper into a topic. Here is my latest example on the Coyotes’ cutting edge goaltending department. It’s the kind of long-form journalism that I really got to explore at The Athletic; a form that you won’t find with any regularity at most sites.

Neutral Zone: This is my catch-all, notebook-style piece that I started at The Athletic. Readers seem to love this mixture of news, analysis and irreverent content so I will continue this format.

Columns: When the time and topic are appropriate, I will weigh in with opinion pieces. I have more than two decades of institutional knowledge on this team. Sometimes, I feel the need to put events in perspective.

ASU coverage: I wanted to start this last season but there wasn't much of an appetite for it at The Athletic. Now that I am my own boss, I am planning more analysis and features like the piece that I wrote on the Sun Devils’ unprecedented road trip, or the deep dive on their new arena.

On The Couch With Craig: These are my semi-regular profiles of founding members of the site (those who paid more than the annual subscription rate). Here are two examples, one of that wacky Twitter personality, Greg Dunaway, and my most recent profile of Dan Lingnau.

Breaking news: In this instant information age, breaking news has lost a lot of its impact in journalism. One source may break a story, but chances are, other sources will have it within five minutes on Twitter. Whether I break news or follow someone else’s story, I will always provide more context and depth.

Game coverage: I don’t write game recaps. Research has shown for more than 10 years that you don’t read them. You saw the game. You don’t need somebody recapping what you already saw. It’s kind of the same way I feel about minor news. If I tweet the news, there is no reason to write a story repeating those tweets while adding quotes without really advancing the story. If I find an interesting element within a game, I may zero in on that for a story. If I think there is context worth expanding off of minor news, I will pursue it. If I don’t feel either exists, I won’t waste your time.

Get-togethers: When I launched this site I had hoped to organize these with founding members and subscribers. I still plan to organize them, but COVID will make that a challenge through the rest of the season. Some day, we will share a beer (not an IPA) or a coffee.

Monthly mailbags: These are officially open to Coyotes and ASU fans. When I announce them via Twitter or email, you can submit a question by replying to either and I will answer them all as best I can.

I have a few other ideas in the works that I may announce at a later date.

You’ll have to decide whether the content I provide is worth the money I charge, but I hope you’ll subscribe to AZ Coyotes Insider. I understand that a variety of circumstances impact your financial decisions and reading habits over the course of a season. If you don’t want to pay for content, that’s fine. It’s your money and you can certainly find basic coverage in other places. What I can promise you is that you won’t find independent Coyotes coverage like mine anywhere else.

One more note before I go. Some of you have asked why I don’t offer special rates at different times of year to lure more readers in for my content. It’s simple. It doesn’t seem fair to all of the other subscribers who paid full price, or in the case of my founding members, more than full price. Again, it’s up to you to decide whether my content is worth the monthly price of one Starbucks coffee, but that is my rationale.

So if you want to subscribe or give somebody in your life the gift of an AZ Coyotes Insider subscription, click one of the two buttons below and follow the simple process (we accept a limited number of credit cards). If you would rather not, I will still offer a few stories per month that are not behind my paywall. Either way, thanks for reading and supporting AZ Coyotes Insider.

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