Six NHL teams have been invited to play in Europe next year for the NHL Premiere 2011. The Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, and the New York Rangers. While no team has accepted the invitation, apparently the Rangers have decided to explore the KHL's Vityaz for some exhibition games in Russia. If you don't recall the name, maybe this will jog your memory:
Mass Brawl on Ice: KHL teams fight 6 seconds into game (via RussiaToday)
According to the Russian website sovsport.ru, the Rangers contacted them about the possibility of playing a game. Using google translator, here is an excerpt:
That is not the Vityaz summoned to battle the Rangers, and vice versa?
- Exactly. Why choose us - have no idea! The first time I got a call last week. And on Thursday, a representative of overseas clubs will fly to Moscow. On Friday, going to meet with him - even for detailed negotiations. We are very interested in this project. No doubt - to agree or not - was not.
Alexei Zhamnov, the GM of Vityaz, said the clarity of this will be revealed within the next week.
This was expanded by Puck Daddy in this recent article about possibilities of NHL Premiere games in Moscow:
Another team that may supposedly head to Russia is the New York Rangers. And their KHL opponent? Vityaz, of all teams.
You may recall that name from a couple of bench-clearing brawls last season. Vityaz GM and a former NHL player Alexei Zhamnov confirmed that the club is negotiating with the Rangers.
Zhamnov said that such a game would be quite expensive and both teams will have to agree on what portion of the expenses each side will bear.
With that, I don't know what the Rangers are thinking in seeking out a match against this team. Vityaz is a team comprised of.. well, look at their roster yourself.
I am all for the Rangers going overseas for the Premiere games, mainly because of the delay in the opening of MSG for next season due to construction, but I don't want to see them play against Vityaz.