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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Home at the Globe

DETROIT -- Niklas Kronwall has been around the world playing hockey. But the thought of playing in the Globe makes him smile.

The Globe is a major arena in Stockholm known as Globen to locals. Reports out of Sweden say that the NHL is considering opening the 2009-10 regular season with a pair of games involving the Detroit Red Wings at the Globe. The NHL opened the 07-08 season in London and the 08-09 season with games in both Stockholm and Prague.

Besides being a premier franchise, the Red Wings would be a natural gate attraction in Stockholm with seven Swedes currently on the roster, five of whom are signed already for next season.

"It'd be once-in-a-lifetime to do that," said Tomas Holmstrom. "It'd be huge. I have lots of friends in Stockholm. It would be a blast."

The logistics wouldn't be easy as it first appears for the Swedish Red Wings. Those who have children would need to start the school year in Detroit, then travel back to Sweden for some exhibition games and the season-opener.

But the chance to play back home as part of an NHL team makes the cross-Atlantic travel worthwhile.

For Kronwall, games at the Globe would be a return to his home rink as a pro in Sweden. Playing four seasons for Djurgardens (1999-2000 through 2002-03), Kronwall played his home games in the world's largest hemispherical building. Built in 1989, the Globe seats more than 14,000 for hockey games.

Back when Kronwall played at the Globe, starting as an 18-year-old through the age of 22, two Swedish elite league teams called it home, Djurgardens and AIK.

"That'd be a cool experience to play there, absolutely," said Kronwall, who grew up 12 miles north of Stockholm. "I never thought it would happen. It'd be one thing to come home and play, but to play with an NHL team would be great. I have my friends and family there. Also, for the guys to see Stockholm would be a cool experience for everyone involved."

Nowadays, the Globe isn't home to any hockey teams. AIK has been relegated to a lower league and doesn't need a major-league building. For Djurgardens, playing next door to the Globe at the 9,000-seat Hovet is more financially desirable.

Although it doesn't have a regular tenant, the Globe is filled with a variety of events during the year. The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins opened this season at the Globe. The European Volleyball Championships were there this year. So were the 2007 Swedish Idol finals and the 2003 European Men's Basketball Championship.

The NHL would have to work out the details of the event with the Red Wings and their possible opponent, the St. Louis Blues, before Detroit winds up playing at the Globe. But if they wrinkles can be ironed out, then the Swede-laden Red Wings could find themselves with a home game abroad.

"It'd be cool especially because we've got a lot of guys from Sweden," said Brett Lebda. "It'd be a good draw and our guys would be pretty happy about it. The fact that we've got so many Swedes on the team, that would be a good thing."


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