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KHL President Floats Games With NHL Teams, Including With Capitals



Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) after scoring an empty net goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y. The Capitals won 2-0. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The KHL approached the NHL about hosting interleague exhibition matchups, according to KHL president Alexei Morozov — discussions that ultimately did not come to fruition.

“We wanted our teams to play with NHL clubs,” Morozov told Match TV, according to a DeepL-generated translation. “We would like Dynamo to play with Washington, for example. We are interested in NHL clubs where there are a lot of Russian stars. But NHL clubs have their own plans.”

Games between the two leagues are nothing new, but it’s been nearly 13 years since the last time teams from both leagues met on the ice. Two games were played overseas as part of the 2010 NHL preseason, with the then-Phoenix Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes meeting Dinamo Riga and SKA Saint Petersburg, respectively.

The Capitals roster currently consists of three Russian-born players, with each of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexander Alexeyev having played in the KHL before coming to the United States. Aliaksei Protas, a native of neighboring Belarus, also previously suited up in the league.

Morozov noted that scheduling is made difficult by the fact that the NHL’s regular season starts in October, whereas the KHL regular season opens on Friday.

Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine also complicates scheduling. The country, as well as Belarus, has been banned from IIHF competition indefinitely with no formal end date announced.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.