As rumoured here back in September, the NHL is starting enxt season in Europe. And even more interestingly, the Rangers are going.
The Blueshirts will face off with the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 4th and 5th at the Sazka Arena, the home of Slavia Praha in Prague.
Unfortunately, the Ottawa Senators will face Cindy Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Sweden on the very same days. I think that the league is making a huge mistake in that the Rangers should be in Sweden instead of Pittsburgh, considering that the starting goaltender of their national team wears a Blueshirt but the feelings of the Swedes are less important than the appeal of Cindy in Canada so we got what we got, ya know?
Of course, killjoy Sather came right out and told the AP that "There's no guarantee that anyone on our team right now will be on our team in the fall." Its a safe comment for him right now as he has yet to sign Hank or Avery to extensions, Jagr's contract is quite uncertain, and everyone else are pawns to the general manager. But I have to say that it will be even more interesting if Jagr, Rozy, Malik and Marty Straka are gone because all of the goodwill from the Czechs will be gone and it will be a hostile environment far, far from home.
But I am still going to ask, kde si mohu koupit vstupenku? (Where can I buy a ticket?) I am hoping the Rangers will put together a package but as of Leetch night, my season ticket rep had no idea it was happening and, as of this writing, there is nothing on this at the Rangers homepage. I will, of course, keep everyone posted here once I hear what's going on -- if anything.
So whoever ends up on the Rangers come the fall will also be playing in the 2008 IIHF Victoria Cup against the winner of the European Champions Cup, the Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Bern, Switzerland. It will be in the PostFinance Arena, the home of SC Bern. Luckily, Metallurg does not still have Evgeni Malkin so they won't be as difficult but they will still be a worthy opponent - especially for a team coming out of the offseason.
I just hope that it proves to be a short summer ...