According to ESPN, the New York Rangers are one of six teams that have been asked by the NHL to take part in the annual Premiere Games in Europe, an event that began in 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in London, England. It was so successful that the Rangers and Tampa Lightning played each other the following season in Prague, Czech Republic. The NHL is going to continue with these games for the foreseeable future as they serve as free exposure for the league, and also to showcase to the up-and-coming European players that it is their league they should play for, and not the KHL.
That said, this news is just preliminary, according to ESPN as nothing has been finalized. I did not like the idea of the Rangers starting the season in Europe last time, and even though they won both games against the Lightning, it leaves a longer lasting effect on the team than the standings after game two in the season. The traveling oversees and getting used to time zones combined with an irregular preseason that consists of games played in both America and Europe causes players to sometimes not correctly get into their preseason rhythm.
I really hope the Rangers will decline this invitation because their season and development of prospects is more important than the NHL’s fascination with Europe. The article does mention that the Rangers may not be able to play at MSG early next season anyway because of renovations, but I would much rather have this team go the entire month of October on the road than take part in this gimmick.
The other teams included are the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks. I’m really surprised to not see Pittsburgh on that list since the world should behold the glory of Sidney Crosby.