Big news out of Russia on Friday as the KHL announced the cancellation of a pair of games to be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in January.
Dynamo Moscow was set to take on SKA St. Petersburg on Jan. 19 and 20 in a pair of contests featuring two of Russia’s most famous clubs.
Dynamo has signed Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to lockout deals with SKA has loaded up its roster with the likes of New Jersey captain Ilya Kovalchuk, St. Louis prospect Vladimir Tarasenko and Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
“Meeting the wishes of thousands of Russian hockey fans, considering the interests of the teams Dynamo Moscow and SKA and due to the lack of certainty with the NHL lockout length, the KHL decided to change the dates of games between the teams scheduled for January 19 and 20,” the league said in a statement.
According to the KHL’s revised schedule, the two games will now be played in Russia.
The Barclays Center was originally chosen as the site for the KHL games thanks in large part to a big Russian population within the borough — and it remains unclear exactly why the games were canceled.
Some suggest it’s to keep a marquee matchup in Russia (as Mike Brehm of USA Today notes, “Dynamo, the defending league champion, and SKA rank first and second in the KHL in points and would draw big crowds if the games were held in Russia.”)
There’s also this theory, floated by Elite Prospects’ Matias Strozyk:
Brooklyn’s KHL games canceled, what a surprise. And a remarkable coincidence that it happened about 24h after the Isles move was announced.
— Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk) October 26, 2012