The games between SKA St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow will now be played in Russia, because of fan interest as well as lockout uncertainty.
The Kontinental Hockey League, the top-professional league in Russia widely considered the second-best league in the world behind the NHL, has canceled two games that were to be played at the Barclays Center, according to a report in USA Today.
SKA St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow were supposed to play two games against each other at the new arena in Brooklyn Jan. 19-20, but the KHL announced Friday that the games would be played in Russia. The two contests will be played in St. Petersburg Jan. 20 and in Moscow Jan. 22.
The KHL announced the cancellations "in deference to the wishes of many thousands of Russian hockey fans ... and the lack of certainty as to the timing of the duration of the lockout in the National Hockey League," according to the report in USA Today.
SKA features NHL players Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils) and Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets), while Dynamo is led by Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom, both of who play for the Washington Capitals.
The NHL, which is set to announce another round of game cancellations Friday as negotiations between players and owners continue to stall, is on day 41 of the league's second lockout in eight years.