LONDON - If the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings needed another reason to get physical, playing each other in London may be the perfect excuse.
With the NHL making its regular-season debut today and Sunday in the British capital, fans await a firsthand look of one of the league's trademarks - rink-rattling hits and a couple fights.
The Ducks and Kings are more than happy to oblige.
'We're crosstown rivals, and we really don't like each other,' Kings coach Marc Crawford said. 'Our games are spirited, and I think that's what fans like. Our players, you never have to worry about if they're ready for these games.'
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is confident the fans' expectations will be met.
'We're not warranting whether or not there'll be fisticuffs,' Bettman said. 'But there will be a competition that has all of the intensity and emotion and passion and skill that our game has.'
The NHL is taking its season opener to Europe as part of an effort to expand its overseas market. So instead of opening its Stanley Cup defense at home at The Pond, Anaheim had to travel across the pond for the home-and-home series against Los Angeles.
Flyers Rookie Gets 20-Game Suspension
PHILADELPHIA - Flyers rookie Steve Downie was suspended 20 games by the NHL for leaving his feet to deliver a deliberate and dangerous hit to the head Ottawa's Dean McAmmond.
McAmmond was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the second period of Tuesday's game and is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Downie received a match penalty and was automatically suspended until Friday's hearing in Toronto. His suspension matched the fourth-longest in league history, falling five games shy of the league-record handed down against Islanders forward Chris Simon for his two-handed stick attack to the face of Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers in March.
Downie, 20, has not played an NHL game with the Flyers and was expected to start the season in the minors.
LEGAL: Madison Square Garden sued the NHL, saying the league has monopolized promotion of its teams. According to the lawsuit, the NHL has claimed it will fine MSG, which owns the Rangers, $100,000 per day if it does not give the NHL complete control over the team's Web site and other promotions.