Oilers debuting in Europe?

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:33 AM ET

EDMONTON - ANAHEIM — The Edmonton Oilers are excited at the prospect of opening next season in Europe.

While plans are still in the initial stages, the Oilers have been approached by the NHL about being one of the teams to start the regular season overseas.

The team would likely go to Sweden, due in large part to their two Swedish rookies on the roster.

“The league approached us just to see if there was some interest,” said general manager Steve Tambellini.

“We’ll be supportive with these league initiatives, but there’s a lot of things that need to take place as far as exhibition season, timing, travel, scheduling at the beginning for the season, so we really don’t know if it’s a go or not. But there have been some preliminary discussions.”

The NHL has been sending teams to Europe to start the season for the past few years.

Oilers forward Colin Fraser opened the 2009-10 season in Finland when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks.

This season, six teams crossed the pond to get the NHL campaign underway.

“That would be fun, we’ve talked a little bit about some of the cities that would be in play,” said Oilers centre Andrew Cogliano.

“It’s exciting for a guy like me. I’m from Canada, so I can just imagine what it would be like for guys like Hemmer (Ales Hemsky) and Magnus (Paajarvi) and the other guys that are from there.

“Hopefully, we can do that. We talked to Fraze (Fraser) about that and he said the schedule is tough and it’s kind of a grind, but hopefully we can find a way where we could get a couple of days off when we come home. But it’s something that we want to do.”

Another option for the Oilers would be to go to Prague, with Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid on the roster.

“It’s kind of in the air, there was talk of a couple of scenarios, but nothing definite yet,” said Tambellini.

“It’s really premature at this point.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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