First and foremost, I have to say that kicking off the season in Europe was a great idea for '08, and it's just as good for '09. I'm all for it. Now that I have that out of the way, I can do what I do best: criticize!
Having the Detroit Red Swedes, I mean, Red WINGS, play the first two games of 09-10 in Sweden is a no-brainer. They've got a big chunk of the Swedish National Team on their roster, so the locals will be thrilled, BUT...St. Louis for an opponent? Patrik Berglund is the only Swede the Blues can muster. Why not send the Dallas (Swede)Stars? Detroit has 8 Swedes and Dallas has 4 Swedes, so that's...A WHOLE LOTTA SWEDES! Add in the animosity that would surely be present as a result of these two teams meeting again this year in the postseason, and PRESTO! You've got playoff hockey in October!
As for Chicago and Florida dropping the puck in Finland...Each team has ONE Finn! Not only that, but Chicago's token Finn, backup goalie Antti Niemi, would most likely play in only one of the games. That leaves Florida's Ville Peltonen as the standard bearer for this series.
Oh, well. It's going to be fun anyway, and because we love hockey, we'll be watching every minute. October 2-3, 2009. Gentlemen, set your DVRs!
Postscript: For a preview of the Helsinki series, tune in tonight as the Blackhawks (who are certainly not dull, even without Sharp) attempt to solve the riddle that is Tomas Vokoun. Should be a great game!
Take me back to On Goal Analysis