It has been 20 years since the NHL ventured to Mother Russia when the Minnesota North Stars and Montreal Canadiens took on the likes of the Soviet National team. Now prior to the official start of the 2010-2011 NHL season the league has arranged for both the Phoenix Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes to take on KHL clubs in Moscow and Riga, Latvia before the season kicks off in Finland and the Czech Republic.
The Hurricanes will take on SKA St. Petersburg at Ledovy Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Oct. 4, while the Coyotes will play against Dinamo Riga at Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia on Oct. 6. It is interesting to note that the president of SKA, Alexander Medvedev, also happens to be the president of the KHL and I find it humorous that the NHL has countered by sending their league run team in the Coyotes to take on another KHL team. Of course this would be slightly funnier if the two teams squared off against one another.
Both the Coyotes and Hurricanes each have one Russian on their team with Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Samsonov respectively. It looks like hockey’s cold war might be coming to an end with the two sides reaching progress in unifying the two biggest leagues in the world. Could this mean a future pact over transfers between the two leagues? Will this improve the NHL players chances to represent their countries in the 2014 Olympics in Russia? This is certainly a stepping stone towards progress and maybe we will see more unity between the two sides.