McKenzie: NHL's European plans finalized
1/24/2008 11:35:38 AM
The plans to open the 2008-09 NHL regular season on two European fronts are now finalized.
The league is apparently ready to formally announce this weekend at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta that, as expected, the Ottawa Senators will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm and the New York Rangers will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague.
The teams will play each other twice on the weekend before the "normal" mid-week opening of the NHL regular season in North America. The games will be played in Stockholm and Prague on Saturday and Sunday with staggered start times so as to present them in "double-header" form for North American TV viewers. The games will, of course, count in the NHL regular season standings.
The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks played a two-game set in London, England, to open this season.
The Sens-Pens and Rangers-Lightning games represent a move to more "traditional" European hockey markets in Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Each of the four teams will play some pre-season games in Europe.
The Rangers are expected to play in the IIHF-sanctioned Victoria Cup tournament in Bern, Switzerland, prior to their meeting with Tampa Bay.
The Senators are scheduled to play Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League, while Tampa is expected to play a tune-up game in Berlin and Pittsburgh in Finland.