The Blue Jackets are set to begin their season in Stockholm, Sweden on Friday night against the San Jose Sharks. They will first play an exhibition game against a mix of two Swedish teams, Malmo Redhawks and Rogle BK on Wednesday night.
I have mixed feelings about NHL teams beginning their season in Europe.
I understand the benefits of obtaining greater exposure of the game. Playing in Sweden will give many fans the opportunity to watch a real NHL game that they may otherwise never get to see. It is exciting to share a game with others that we are so passionate about in Canada. It allows hockey players to give back to the community that has provided the NHL with so many talented Swedish hockey players. It also is a great bonding opportunity for the players and staff.
I am not a supporter of the exhibition game against the Swedish teams. I recognize how exciting it is for the Swedish players to be able to play against NHL players. However, I think that the NHL players and teams have way too much riding on every game. My fear is that the Blue Jackets will be playing against a mix of Swedish players that are all looking to prove themselves and get noticed in a meaningless game. What would happen if a player crashes the net and Steve Mason suffers a season ending injury? What if Rick Nash is checked from behind and injured his knee slamming into the boards? The Blue Jackets chances of being a playoff team would be greatly diminished. Is it worth the risk? Is playing an exhibition game worth losing a chance at winning the Stanley Cup?
What are your thoughts on NHL teams beginning their season in Europe?
About the Author
Written by Jason Wagensveld