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, CBCSports.ca, 2:45 p.m. ET). They'll meet
again in the same place on Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca,
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, CBCSports.ca, 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
"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
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.