The KHL released its 2012-13 schedule today, and as expected, it includes a pair of regular-season games at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The league's vice-president, Vladimir Shalaev, confirmed to Sovetsky Sport that Dynamo Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg will play each other on January 19 and 20 at the currently under-construction arena. But when speaking to the media today, he also took a shot at New York's other big-time sports arena. Via Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov, who has translated the quotes into English:
Speaking to the media this morning, Shalaev said, "The Barclays Center easily surpasses the New York Rangers' home at Madison Square Garden as a hockey venue."
He added "there's nothing good about [MSG]. Anyone who's been there understands that arena is no longer suited to modern hockey."
Here's the thing, though. We're sure that when the Barclays Center opens, it'll be a wonderful, state-of-the-art arena, with great sight lines for basketball games and concerts and all sorts of other events. But it wasn't built for hockey: Original plans would have properly accommodated an NHL–size rink, but those were scrapped, and what you see above is the funky seating configuration for the preseason game the Islanders and Devils will play at the arena in September. Notice the lack of, you know, seating behind one of the goals. (The seating chart on the Ticketmaster page has a slightly different configuration, but a Barclays Center spokesperson confirmed to us that the one above, which appears on the arena's website, is correct.)
Perhaps Shalaev is simply trying to hype up the games and the building in which they'll be played. And the Garden does have its flaws — it's not really the right shape for a hockey rink, either — but at the very least, it has seating on both ends of the arena for hockey games. So, in that somewhat important department: advantage MSG.