From the NY Times.com Slap Slot blog:
Once again this season for the fourth straight year, some N.H.L.
teams are opening in Europe, with six teams — Carolina, Minnesota,
Boston, San Jose, Columbus and Phoenix — beginning their schedule
overseas. The first game on the regular season schedule (this Thursday
at noon Eastern time) features the Hurricanes and the Wild from
Those six teams are also playing preseason games in Europe, including
two against K.H.L. teams, one of which, Carolina vs. SKA St.
Petersburg, goes today.
“The N.H.L. has seen a swell of business in Europe, both in terms of
merchandise sales and Internet traffic,” writes Aaron
Portzline in The Columbus Dispatch. “Roughly 20 percent of visitors
to NHL.com, the league says, are from Europe. That only makes sense, as
26 percent of the N.H.L.’s players – more than 225 players – are from
outside North America.”
These international games also satisfy provisions in the
N.H.L.-N.H.L.P.A. Collective Bargaining agreement on international
competition and the two parties split the revenue from these games.
In a blog post today, David
Pollok of the San Jose Mercury News asked N.H.L Deputy Commissioner
Bill Daly the question most often popsed in connection with these
European adventures: Is this leading to N.H.L. expansion to Europe?