Although ESPN is notorious for ignoring all things hockey related (including acknowledging this current lockout), they turned some heads today by coming to an agreement with the Russian-based hockey league to air games on the sports giant’s online channel, ESPN3.
While it isn’t much, at least ESPN is taking the the initiative to draw NHL fans to their site, giving fans at least some chance of seeing their beloved players take to the ice – even if it’s half way around the world. And, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time KHL games have been aired on ESPN3. For the past two seasons, ESPN3 has aired a few games on their station, though thanks to the lockout, it has gained more attention now.
The first game to be shown on ESPN3 will be between Dynamo Moscow and AK Bars on Wednesday, with four more games to follow up until the 9th of this month. More games are set to be scheduled as the lockout continues.
Though almost the entire team is eligible to play in Europe, only a few have fully committed to a team during the lockout including:
– Pekka Rinne – Dinamo Minsk
– Roman Josi – SC Bern
– Patric Hörnqvist was set to return to his former team Djurgarden, but due to high taxes and insurance, Hörnqvist is seeking another route. Where to now? HC Red Ice, yet another Swiss league team.
Rumors are still swarming around as to what Martin Erat is up to, along with rumors that Sergei Kostitsyn wants to stay with the KHL, even after the lockout is settled. However, we have yet to come across anything that has stated he has even signed with a team. Maybe we missed it in the Russian-to-English translation.
Also, be prepared for the NHL to start announcing the cancelation of regular season games some time this week. Good news, however, if the NHL and NHLPA can come to an agreement before November, all 82 games will still be scheduled. Let’s hope for that.