PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Move over Jason Kidd, and make way for Konstantin Gorovikov.
The Barclays Center will host Gorovikov and other Russian hockey stars this winter when Russia's Kontinental Hockey League hits the ice for two games at the new arena.
Top scorer Gorovikov's team, Dynamo Moscow, and SKA St. Petersburg will play on Jan. 19 and 20, Yahoo! Sports' Puch Daddy blog reported. The Barclays Center has strong ties to Russia; the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is majority owner of the Brooklyn Nets and owns 45 percent of the Barclays Center.
When announcing the games, KHL Vice President Vladimir Shalaev slammed Madison Square Garden and praised the new Barclays Center, which is scheduled to open Sept. 28.
"The Barclays Center easily surpasses the New York Rangers' home at Madison Square Garden as a hockey venue," Shalaev told reporters, adding, "there's nothing good about [MSG]. Anyone who's been there understands that arena is no longer suited to modern hockey."
Some hockey fans have questioned the Barclays Center's ability to host NHL games, because of its unconventional u-shaped seating layout.
But Bruce Ratner, CEO of Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner Companies, has said the arena will be well-suited for NHL games, and could even be the new home of the New York Islanders, the Associated Press reported.
The Islanders will get a chance to test drive the new arena in October, when they're scheduled to play the New Jersey Devils at the downtown Brooklyn arena.