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Where's Olli? Helsinki, Here We Come ... Florida Panthers vs. Chicago Blackhawks in Finland

Villeolli RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ville Peltonen had big news for his teammates on the bus ride to RBC Center this morning.

The Panthers are going to Finland. Here's the story on MiamiHerald.com

Team president Michael Yormark told me today that yes, the Panthers will indeed open the 2009-10 season in Europe, although he refused to tell me where. We had all heard Prague, but I had been told they were having trouble matching money to teams so they are apparently out.

Peltonen, who as a free agent this summer, filled his teammates in this morning.

Finland Peltonen told me this morning that he's very excited about the prospects of playing on true home ice with the Panthers next season. ''I hope to be there and play in that game,'' he said.

Maybe he wants to play for Chicago, but I think this could put to bed reports out of Europe that he wants to go back and play there next year.

Everything I've seen with Peltonen is that if the Panthers offer him another contract, he'll stay. Pete DeBoer obviously loves the guy, so it may just be that simple.

-- Florida and the Hawks will play at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, a modern arena that has hosted international hockey and is the home to Jokerit Helsinki. The place holds 13,400 for hockey, so we may get a Miami Arena kind of feel to this game. Here is the link to the arena.

Detroitswedes -- The other teams going to Europe include Detroit and St. Louis; they will open the season in Stockholm, Sweden. That trip makes a lot of sense for the Red Wings because they are very popular in Sweden -- and should be.

The Wings are stocked with Swedes, including Johan Franzen, Nicklas Lidstrom, Andreas Lilja, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Holmstrom, Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg.


























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