I know there’s a lot of hockey left to be played this spring, but there’s something interesting coming up for those of you already looking to next season.
As has been the case the past few years, the NHL will take its show on the road to start the 2010/11 season – which will include a couple of games in Mother Russia.
Several media outlets are reporting that two games will likely be played in St. Petersburg and Moscow – home of four Kontinental Hockey League teams: SKA St. Petersburg, CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow.
Now, they’re only exhibition games, but not only is the NHL going into enemy territory here – they’re going to be playing where the highest concentration of KHL teams exist. Hope they make it out alive!
When the time finally comes, it’ll be two teams from the group of six that are headed to Europe to start the season – Carolina, Minnesota Columbus, San Jose, Boston and Phoenix. It’s tough to say who out of that group will be part of the Russia games, since none of the teams have more than a couple of Russians on their current squads (if that would even factor into it).
If the thinking behind this little trip is to give the Russian fans an up close look at how much better the NHL is than their beloved KHL, you probably wouldn’t want Carolina, Minnesota or Columbus in there…which leaves us with three teams.
In San Jose you’ve got regular season all-star Evgeni Nabokov, though the good people of Russia may still be a little sour on him after the big Olympic flop (never mind his little OT blunder on Sunday). Then there’s Ilya Bryzgalov with Phoenix – they could pit the two Russian netminders against one another for a bit of publicity.
Then again, it’s something that probably won’t need much publicity to garner interest over there.
Whatever the case, I think it’s a bit funny that they’re doing this – it’s not like you need to sell Russians on the game of hockey. It’s clearly a ploy to tick off Alex Medvedev and the rest of the KHL management.
Lets just hope they don’t get too mad, if you know what I’m saying!