Things got nasty in yesterday's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and SKA St. Petersburg, showing that these matches can sometimes be anything but a "friendly". For more on that game, in which the KHL home side came out victorious 5-3, check out the post-game from Canes Country. Carolina's Head Coach Paul Maurice even decided to sit Eric Staal after he was clipped by SKA's Maxim Rybin. In Tampere, Cal Clutterbuck scored a hat trick to lead the Minnesota Wild past Ilves 5-1. Michael Russo provides a recap for this untelevised game.
Malmö Redhawks (Allsvenskan) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Oct. 5 (1:00 PM EST)
All that needs to be said about this game has been covered by Matt Wagner at The Cannon, really, so I'll just add some thoughts about the level of competition and what to expect from the crowd. This will be, by far, Malmö's top selling game. The team moved into a brand new arena just a few years ago, which is the second largest in Sweden, behind the Globe, where the Blue Jackets will play the San Jose Sharks this weekend. The Redhawks range from average to above average in Sweden's second highest league, so hosting an event like this is probably a way for the team to play with a higher budget than their opponents normally would. Clearly, for the Redhawks, they need to get back into the Elitserien to help fill up the stands, as they've averaged under 3500 for their first 3 home games so far this year. As Matt alludes to in his preview for The Cannon, there's a strong Danish presence on the team, which makes sense since Malmö could be viewed as a glorified suburb of Copenhagen, as the Danish capital is just across the Øresund Bridge from Malmö.
This shouldn't be a highly competitive match, though the Redhawks will get their chances. This game will be streamed on NHL.com's GameCenter.
HC Bílí Tygri Liberec (Tipsport Extraliga) vs. Boston Bruins, Oct. 5 (1:00 PM EST)
Unfortunately, Bruins fans draw the short end of the stick again, as their game will not be broadcast online from what I can tell. The official Czech hockey website often broadcasts Extraliga games online for free, but that does not appear to be the case tomorrow in Liberec. Liberec is famous for being former NHL star Petr Nedved's home team, and the aging centre still plays for the team. Slovak forward Andrej Podkonicky is the only other player with any NHL experience on the team, having played 8 games with the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals before the NHL lockout. I've said it in the past, that the Extraliga is definitely in a downslide, so Boston isn't really facing a quality opponent here. After 7 games, Liberec sit in 8th place, right in the middle of the pack.
The Bruins will probably be giving the start to Tim Thomas, since Tuuka Rask started against Belfast. They should be fully recovered from any jetlag symptoms that may have occured when they hopped onto the plane to Belfast late last week. If you haven't read the fan reaction by reader JuniorIRL to that game between the Bruins and the Belfast Giants, please do. There's nothing quite like reading about the NHL making a visit to a town with appreciative fans.
Fun fact about this game: It's the Tigers vs. the Bears. Bílí Tygri translates to "White Tigers", so it's a battle of massive, predatory carnivores. No doubt Mike Chen would approve of Liberec's logo (right).
For those wanting more on European league action, we'll get back to normal programming soon enough.