Blue Jackets and Avalanche will face-off next season in Finland

The Blue Jackets’ trip to Finland is officially back on.

After two planned games against the Colorado Avalanche last season in Helsinki were postponed by the pandemic, it was announced Thursday that both teams will play Nov. 4-5 next season in Tampere’s Nokia Arena.

“I haven’t talked to anyone (back home) about it, but I’m sure everyone is going to be excited to get to see me play,” said forward Patrik Laine, who’s from Tampere. “It’s been a couple of tough years with COVID and all that, so it will be fun for everyone over there, for the fans and everyone else, to watch me play and just watch NHL hockey overall.”

Laine, one of two Finnish players on the Jackets’ roster, attached a significant qualifier to most of his comments about the trip. He’s a pending restricted free agent without a contract extension for next season, so there’s a chance he might not be with the Blue Jackets. The same applies to goalie Joonas Korpisalo, a pending unrestricted free agent.

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Patrik Laine (29) skates to the circle before a face-off against Philadelphia Flyers during the 1st period of their NHL game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2022.

“It was exciting to hear the news and hopefully I’m still here,” Laine said after taking team photos on the ice at Nationwide Arena. That’s the next step (agreeing to an extension), but it should be a lot of fun. … It’s different here, for North American guys. They get to play in their hometowns, usually, but for Europeans it’s pretty rare that we get that opportunity. So, yeah, it’s pretty sweet. ”

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