The Pittsburgh Penguins arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, at about 3:30 AM this morning (Pittsburgh time) after a tiring 10.5 hour flight (including a refueling layover in Ireland). Despite the lengthy trip, the team got checked into their hotel, met for a team meal, and then hit the rink at Hovet Arena in Stockholm for practice. The goal for today is for the team to get adjusted to the 6-hour time change by staying awake through the evening and getting a good night’s sleep tonight. According to Max Talbot, most players managed to get some sleep on the plane so that fatigue was not much of a factor in this morning’s practice. The Penguins’ schedule is part of a program put in place by the training staff to help the players adjust to the change.
The 10-day trip to Sweden comes on the heels of Friday night’s 5-4 pre-season win against the Leafs in Toronto. Despite playing from behind most of the night, the Penguins won the game late in the 3rd period on goals by Kris Letang and Matt Cooke. Sidney Crosby, Mark Eaton and Janne Pesonen also scored in the win, advancing the Penguins pre-season record to 3-0-1. Sidney Crosby picked up the game’s 1st star with 2-points (1G, 1A) and Ruslan Fedotenko got the game’s 3rd start with 3-points (3A). The Penguins will officially complete their pre-season play on Thursday, October 2nd, playing against the Jokerit of the Finnish Elite League in Helsinki, Finland.
Before boarding the 5PM flight to Stockholm, the Penguins skinnied their roster down to 25-players through assignments to the AHL and injured reserve. Forward Connor James and defenseman Danny Richmond were both assigned to the Penguins’ AHL-affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday. Injured defensemen Sergei Gonchar (dislocated shoulder) and Ryan Whitney (foot surgery) have been assigned to the injured reserve and will not make the trip. The Penguins will have to make one more roster cut by Friday, October 3rd, to get down to a 24-man roster before the season-opener in Sweden on October 4th. The Penguins will ultimately need to make an additional cut after October 5th to get down to the 23-player roster required by the league for the rest of the regular season. The league made an exception and allowed 24-players to be on the roster for the games in Sweden, so that the team would have an extra player in-country in case of injury.
The Penguins remaining 25-man roster for the Sweden trip is comprised of 15 forwards, 7 defensemen and 3 goaltenders. This includes forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis, Eric Godardm Jeff Taffe, Janne Pesonen, Bill Thomas, and Paul Bisssonnette. The defensive corps consists of Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill, Mark Eaton, Darryl Sydor, Kris Letang, and Alex Goligoski. The goaltenders are Marc-Andre Fleury, Dany Sabourin, and John Curry.
After arriving in Stockholm early this morning, the Penguins went to Hovet Arena for practice at about 8AM Pittsburgh time. The Hovet Arena is located alongside the Globe Arena where the Penguins will practice for the rest of the week, and where the Penguins will face off against the Ottawa Senators next weekend. After practice, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Talbot spoke to the press. The following videos of practice and those interviews are courtesy of PittsburghPenguins.com: