As you probably know by now, the NHL is opening its 90th season in Europe. The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks will open defense of their championship against the Los Angeles Kings in London, England at the brand new O2 Arena.
The NHL going to Europe and London is nothing new, and having regular season games across the pond can only help but grow the sport. But London is an odd spot, since hockey is about as popular there as poutine. In other words, it is very hard to find in England, as evidenced in trying to find any news of the NHL's presence in England at the BBC's Sports website.
Well, you can't blame the Brits. As of September 24th, its hard to find much about the event at NHL.com either.
With that in mind NHL president Gary Bettman is trying to make headlines with talk of more NHL games, which in turn gives desperate NHL columnists a chance to pipe up about NHL franchise expansion into Europe. Yes, one day we'll have teams in Stockholm and Helsinki, Prague and Bratislava, Berlin and Moscow.
Spare me the desperate headline grabbing.
Now don't get me wrong. NHL expansion into Europe, for all of its logistical nightmares, is exciting and makes some sense. And while we're closer now than we ever have been, I've been reading and hearing about European based NHL teams "in the not so distant future" since the late 1960s. 40 years later and nothing is close.
I really hope the day does come, and in my lifetime. To do it they'd probably have to drastically alter the NHL as we know it, as Vancouver to Moscow home and home series' would suck.
But when they do finally venture across the Atlantic, I hope they can somehow incorporate the legendary teams that have existed for years. I'm not sure how European fans would feel, and I doubt logistics would allow for it, but I think it would be awesome if CSKA Moscow, HC Davos, Jokerit, and Modo were part of the National Hockey League.
Hey, others can have their unlikely talk about European expansion and so can I.
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