Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Flames to face Bruins in China in preseason

Folks, it sure sounds like the Calgary Flames will be headed overseas in the fall.

Last month, it was reported that the Flames might be headed to China or Europe. Following today’s National Hockey League Board of Governor meetings in Tampa Bay, reports are that the Flames will be playing the Boston Bruins in a pair of preseason games in China – pending a few outstanding issues being resolved between the league and the players’ association.

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The NHL’s 2018-19 international calendar reportedly includes:

  • Calgary vs. Boston in China during the preseason in mid-September
  • New Jersey vs. Edmonton in Sweden for a regular season game (preceded by exhibition games in Switzerland for the Devils and Germany for the Oilers) in October
  • Florida vs. Winnipeg in Finland for a pair of regular season games in November

It’s the second time NHL clubs have gone to China, following Los Angeles and Vancouver playing preseason games last September. Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics and the thought is that the NHL is trying to gain a foothold in the market prior to those Olympics. (The Flames previously went to Tokyo, Japan in 1998 following the Nagano Olympics.)

The Flames have played seven preseason games over each of the past few seasons: four home and three away, usually beginning with a home-and-home against the Edmonton Oilers. The trip to China will likely lob off a home and away date from the domestic calendar and, like what the Canucks and Kings experienced, see the team send a veteran-laden group to China to sell the game while keeping a younger crew in Canada to get extra exhibition reps.

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  • freethe flames

    This should only happen at the very start of the preseason. The teams should then have a few days later start than the rest of the NHL; personally I hate the idea.

  • SydScout

    I live in a similar Timezone to China and while I love the idea that the Flames are in my hood, it had better pay off in more ways than just money for the Flames. Travel of this kind, that I do regularly (currently on a Sydney-Calgary-Chicago-London journey over the course of ten days) is a killer. It takes ages to get over. I’m not a fan of this idea for the team. It’ll be harder for the Bruins though, which is the only small mercy here!! I may need to rename to Asia’s Finest for a few days in your Autumn.

      • Puckhead

        That is a tough question to answer because I want the team to make the playoffs and follow it up with a deep run. However, I am also baffled by his player usage, crazy perimeter system whatevertheFitis, PP, and reluctance to change when things obviously aren’t going well and better options are close at hand. However, If Ihad to choose I would end the pain, move on, and send team to China (?) with a new coach.

  • Chiz

    Is the NHL really going to grow in China?

    Also, they say it takes one day per hour of time change to get over jet lag. That’s something like two weeks to feel normal again after a trip to china. I hate the idea. I just can’t imagine there being any benefit to the Calgary flames or their players.

    • Puckhead

      That is correct. I know NHL players who have gone overseas and they also say that it takes 1 day to adjust for every hour of time change. It’s nuts and for that reason I am glad that the NHL is not going to the Winter Olympics.

      • Chiz

        I’m with you on that! It makes no sense to shut the league down for two weeks so some of the players can go and risk injury and fatigue while the owners (the people who pay the salary) get no benefit and take all the risk. A best on best tourney should not happen in-season.

  • Off the wall

    Not a fan of sending the team to China. They could barely maintain a 10,000 attendance with LA and Vancouver.

    Tickets were given away to increase attendance. Really bad advertising for the game as noted by Esposito.

    If you’re going to grow our game, at least do it where there’s an interest…

  • RKD

    Nice to see the Flames get that kind of global exposure a lot of other teams go to Sweden or get multiple winter classic games. Hopefully the players recover from the jet lag quickly!

  • Justthateasy

    So the NHL is trying to horn its way back into the Olympics? I like it the way it is now. No NHL players sacrificing themselves for their country to the detriment of their club team.
    Check out the Spengler Cup next year to watch incredibly good hockey by former NHL players. Or check out this year’s Olympics to watch great hockey by non NHLers.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If the Bruins fly to Beijing from Logan, will the distance be shorter if they fly east or west?

    If the Flames send a veteran-laden club to China, will it include Spencer Foo, who clearly would benefit more as a player by remaining in Calgary with the prospects and getting more reps and playing time?

    Does the plan to go the way of the dragon this fall have any effect on whether Gully and his coaching staff are fired at the end of the season? Tre took an awfully long time to find his man the first time. Would he have the all the time in the world this time to do the same? On the other hand, making a quick hire before the full field of candidates is available could be fatal.

    Finally, will Sean Monahan giving interviews in Mandarin make him a more engaging, energetic and entertaining speaker?