finlandThe NHL officially announced the participants for NHL Premier 2009, and the Boston Bruins were not selected among the four clubs.

The Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks will open their regular seasons Oct. 2 and 3 in Helsinki, Finland, while the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues will open their seasons the same two days in Stockholm, Sweden.

Before this season, there had been talk of as many as eight teams starting next season overseas. But several factors, including the poor economy, obviously curtailed those plans.

The Bruins would’ve been a perfect fit for the games in Finland, with top goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask expected to be in the NHL full-time by next fall. But by not getting picked for the premier games, the Bruins are still in the running to host the 2010 Winter Classic. No less a hockey insider that Stan Fischler this week reported he thinks Fenway Park is the favorite to host the game next winter.