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Crosby, Penguins land in Sweden

Touristclick Sweden Travel News

Crosby, Penguins land in Sweden


The Pittsburgh Penguins arrived in Sweden on Sunday to begin preparations for next weekend's season-opening series against the Ottawa Senators.

Pittsburgh and Ottawa will open their 2008-09 campaigns in Stockholm next Saturday (CBC,, 2:45 p.m. ET). They'll meet again in the same place on Sunday (CBC,, 2:30 p.m. ET).

Before that, the puck drops on the new NHL season when the New York Rangers face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague on Saturday (CBC,, 12 p.m. ET).

The teams will also play the back end of their doubleheader on Sunday.

The Penguins held a practice Saturday in Stockholm despite having just endured an eight-hour transatlantic flight from the United States.

"It wasn't too bad," captain Sidney Crosby said after the workout. "A lot of us have been through similar situations before. You usually don't expect the sharpest practice, but these guys out there were awake and getting adjusted."

Many NHL teams, among them Original Six clubs like the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, have visited Sweden throughout the years. But this will mark the first time the NHL regular season opens in Scandinavia.

Last year, the NHL season kicked off in London with a pair of games between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

This is the first trip to Sweden and Europe for the Penguins.

Crosby is familiar with Sweden after having played there in an exhibition for Canada before heading to neighbouring Finland for the 2004 world junior championship.

"It's a nice city," Crosby said of Stockholm. "They support hockey pretty well from what I've seen."

Pittsburgh (3-0-1 in the pre-season after winning in Toronto on Friday night) will practise three more days at the Hovet, an arena next door to the much bigger Globe Arena.

The Eastern Conference champions then travel to the Finnish capital of Helsinki on Thursday for a pre-season game against Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League. Another practice is scheduled Friday in Stockholm.

Ottawa (3-2-0) will arrive in Sweden on Monday and practise for three days in Goteborg, Sweden's second-largest city, before playing Swedish Elite League team Frolunda in their final pre-season game Thursday.

Goteborg is Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson's hometown. A member of Sweden's Olympic gold medal team in 2006, Alfredsson played for Frolunda before making his NHL debut with the Senators in 1995-96. He also helped the club win the Swedish championship during the NHL lockout season in 2004-05.

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