In the last year, 106 credentials were issued by the NHL to bloggers for events ranging from the Draft in Los Angeles to exclusive interviews. It's a number that continues to grow each season as traditional media coverage of hockey continues to decline, and the NHL remains well ahead of its professional sports peers in blogger access.
The NHL's 30 teams, meanwhile, are free to develop their own individual policies for alternative media access to events, practices and games. Some, like the Washington Capitals, are famously liberal in their credentialing. Others, like the Pittsburgh Penguins, are slowly warming to the notion of increased credentialing for bloggers (which is what happens when you have a cavernous new press box to fill).
Credentialed bloggers usually enjoy the same access as a newspaper or radio reporter on a game night: a seat in the press box, fresh popcorn and access to the teams' dressing rooms for postgame interviews. They cover the game, pass information to their audience, and have done so for the last several years without many incidents of unprofessional behavior, despite approaching the coverage from a fan's perspective.