The Kings are going back to Europe.
For the second time ever, and the first time since 2007, the Kings were chosen Sunday to take part in the “NHL Premiere,” a now-annual tradition of beginning the regular season in Europe. The Kings and New York Rangers will open their regular season on Friday, Oct. 7 at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. The next day the Kings play the Buffalo Sabres at O2 World Arena in Hamburg.
What’s interesting about this trip is that the Kings currently have no players native to the countries in which they will play, usually a determining factor when the league picks its European-bound teams. The Rangers are led by Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist, while the Sabres feature German forward Jochen Hecht.
Kings center Anze Kopitar is an alumnus of the Swedish Elite League, where he played for Sdertlje SK for two years before coming to America. That’s the most plausible factor that landed the Kings in Sweden.
The Kings lost four straight on American soil after splitting a pair of games with the Ducks at O2 Arena in London to start the 2007-08 season. It will be interesting to see how the team handles its post-European schedule differently this time around.