While the NHL’s overseas experiments have been a bit hit or miss since the first Premiere Games in 2007 in London, the league hopes to widen its European impact by making the events bigger and bigger. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the league handed out invitations to the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals to participate in the season-opening contests.
LeBrun writes that the NHL’s tentative plan is to have those six teams play in six cities. The most enticing possibility he brought up is that Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals* might play in front of a crowd in Moscow.
* – Not to mention other popular Russians Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov … if they’re still with the team, that is.
The six squads haven’t officially agreed to participate just yet, but LeBrun mentions that the Rangers are another team that would make an especially large amount of sense. The reasoning is simple: Madison Square Garden is undergoing renovations reaching into mid-October, so it is logical that the Rangers might play in Europe during a chunk of that time.
The Premiere Games have their critics, but seem like an honest effort to grow the game. We’ll let you know once they go from the planning stages to something more tangible over the next few months.