ATLANTA (AP) -The NHL will return to Europe to open next season, announcing Saturday that two games each will be played in Prague and Stockholm.
The New York Rangers will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning at Sazka Arena in the Czech Republic, while the Ottawa Senators face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Globe Arena in Sweden's capital city.
The games will be played Oct. 4 and 5.
``We'll start next season with doubleheaders in two international venues,'' commissioner Gary Bettman said on the eve of the league's All-Star game in Atlanta. ``We're all pretty excited about that.''
The league clearly wants to showcase some of its top players, such as Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson and Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier. Of course, the top draw in Prague would be New York's Jaromir Jagr - if he's still with the Rangers.
The Czech standout could become a free agent after this season.
``There's no guarantee that anyone on our team right now will be on our team in the fall,'' said Glen Sather, president and general manager of the Rangers.
The NHL opened its current season in London. The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks played the Los Angeles Kings before two sellout crowds at O2 Arena.
As a warmup to their regular-season opener, the Rangers are scheduled to meet European club champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia on Oct. 1 for the inaugural Victoria Cup in Bern, Switzerland.
The International Ice Hockey Federation is organizing the game - named after the Montreal arena where the first organized game was held in 1875 - as part of its 100th anniversary celebration.
The IIHF hopes to make the Victoria Cup an annual event between the European champ and an NHL challenger.

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Flames vs. Capitals Pick Will the Washington Capitals be able to fend off the Calgary Flames when the two teams meet up tonight at 7PM...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick Will the Los Angeles Kings be able to start a winning streak when they hit the road to face the Vegas Golden Knights...
Thumbnail Blackhawks vs. Penguins Pick Two of hockey’s most stories franchises meet up tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7PM ET.
Thumbnail Rangers vs. Blue Jackets Pick Will the Columbus Blue Jackets take care of business at home when they host the New York Rangers tonight at 7PM...
Thumbnail Blues vs. Oilers Pick Will the St. Louis Blues upset the host Edmonton Oilers as a small underdog tonight at...

NHL Team Pages