Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman wrote in his weekly “31 Thoughts” column that the NHL is facing “logistical challenges” that will push a possible Global Series in Russia to 2021-22.
The Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues were rumored to be the two teams in consideration for such an event in Russia with Blues forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev and Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov, and goaltender Ilya Samsonov all hailing from the Mother Land. However, nothing was confirmed by the NHL.
“Alluded to this on Twitter the other day, but the NHL is not giving up on attempts to hold regular-season games in Russia. There was a desire to do it for next season, but logistical challenges will prevent that from occurring. However, the league will try for 2021–22. The NHL would not confirm the teams, but, if it were to have happened next season, it looked like St. Louis vs. Washington. It would be incredible to watch, something that someone born in 1970 (like myself) never thought they would see in their lifetime,” he wrote.
Sports Express’ Igor Eronko reported a couple months ago that the Capitals were pushing to play an international game in Russia or Sweden.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that there was “great interest” in playing in Russia at the Global Series in Sweden in early November.
“We’ve talked about different things overseas and we’ve talked about some in Russia or some in Sweden,” team president Dick Patrick said in November. “We’re not sure; it’s a league decision. They’ve talked about China, too, which would be like an exhibition game. I personally wasn’t too intrigued by that. I think it is just too hard on players during training camp.”
Since the Capitals and Blues were the frontrunners to participate in an NHL Global Series event in Russia next season, expect that to be the case once again for 2021-22.
By Harrison Brown