Reports have once again surfaced involving the possibility of the Washington Capitals potentially playing future games in Russia. This time the Capitals are linked with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Monday Andrew Zadarnowski of SB Nation’s Habs Eyes On The Prize reported that negotiations are underway for the two teams to play exhibition games in Russia in September, 2022.
The KHL is negotiating with the NHL to host the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning in Russia for a couple of exhibition games against their teams. They are targeting September of 2022, and obviously Ovechkin and Kucherov are the big draws.
— Andrew Zadarnowski (@AZadarski) December 13, 2021
It was originally reported back in 2019 that negotiations were underway to have the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues play early regular season games in Russia as part of the NHL’s Global Series. Those negotiations finally came to an end without an agreement being reached.
Negotiations started up again shortly thereafter with discussions centering on having the Capitals play exhibition games in Russia. Then that pandemic hit and all negotiations for future games in Russia were shelved for a year and a half.
In September, 2021, the topic was raised once again during the NHL’s media days in Chicago. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly was asked about the possibility during his media availability
“This is one of the topics that is open for discussion. A couple of years ago, before the pandemic, we considered the possibility of bringing the Washington Capitals to Russia. I think there will be a chance to return to this question soon,” said Daly.
Daly pointed out that the NHL has had a good working relationship with Russian hockey, and that the groundwork is in place for the NHL returning to Russia.
“We have a long-term working relationship with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (FHR). Many people do not even realize that we have a valid agreement on mutual respect for contracts. They do not sign players who have contracts in the NHL, we do not sign those who play under contracts in the KHL. We have a great working relationship.”
Daly said there are other pieces that will be in place to get a deal done that would bring the NHL to Russia.
“We expect that this month IIHF President Rene Fasel, with whom we have also cooperated with a lot at the international level, will resign, after which a new president will be elected. Fasel will become a consultant to the FHR and the KHL. This, I think, will only help our contacts with the Russian side. In this I am a great optimist.”
By Jon Sorensen
I want to be on the fan plane/bus to the game in Russia!!