Penguins Flightless to Begin 2008-2009 NHL Season
The Pittsburgh Penguins early struggles in Sweden.
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The 2008-2009 version of the Pittsburgh Penguins is off to a slow start and many in Pittsburgh are wondering why? Could it be losing future hall of fame defender Sergei Gonchar to injury? It is possible that loss coupled with young star Ryan Whitney being injured may be hurting the team.
In my opinion the Penguins are struggling because of their trip to Sweden. The Penguins went deep into June last year against the Detroit Red Wings, falling just short of winning the Stanley Cup. After that loss and almost now summer off and a brief training camp the flightless birds arrived in Sweden in early October to play a pair of games against the Ottawa Senators. On Saturday October 4th the Penguins defeated Ottawa 4 to 3 in a game that luck was on their side. Ottawa goalkeeper Martin Gerber had a less than stellar game helping the Penguins win a game in which they were often outplayed. The next day Pittsburgh was beaten badly by Ottawa 3-1 in a game that was not as close as the score indicates.
The Penguins returned home Tuesday October 7th for practice and to begin preparing for the New Jersey Devils. The game was yet again lost by the Penguins 2-1, as the Pens began to look like a team already exhausted early in the season being outshoot 49-17 and being outplayed severely for the better part of the game. I believe the Penguins long run in the playoffs and the injuries to Gonchar and Whitney may have hurt the team; but it was the trip to Sweden that is putting the Penguins behind the eight ball early on. Will the Penguins recover from the trip? Only time will tell and one thing in the Penguins favor is that their trio of young stars (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury) can help them out of this slump and help save the season before it becomes too late.