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European openers for Kings, Ducks next season

April 10, 2011 |  8:45 pm

Ljfa7ync Yes, this season isn't over -- and you can argue that with the playoffs opening Wednesday, it's really just beginning.

But here's something to look forward to next season: The Kings and Ducks will open the 2011-12 regular season in Europe.

It will be announced Monday that the Kings will face the New York Rangers at Stockholm on Oct. 7 and the Buffalo Sabres at Berlin on Oct. 8. The Ducks will play the Sabres at Helsinki, Finland, on Oct. 7 and the Rangers at Stockholm on Oct. 8.

The Kings are expected to play an exhibition game -- probably in Berlin -- before their opener. The Ducks also are expected to play an exhibition game in Finland against Jokerit, Teemu Selanne's former team. Selanne could still be playing for the Ducks then or he might be retired. Either way, there's sure to be a ceremony involved.

The Kings and Ducks opened the 2007-08 season with two games in London against each other. The NHL has sent teams to Europe for exhibition and regular-season games for several years in an attempt to increase the game's audience and emphasize its players' multinational backgrounds.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman (32) and Los Angeles Kings center Oscar Moller (9) stop short and change directions during the third period of the game at the Staples Center April 9, 2011. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire