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Article:Penguins Update - New Guys Sent Back Down, Pens Go International

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More videos, polls, open threads and more at http://www.pensburgh.com

Well that was short lived.

The Pens reassigned Chris Minard, Tim Brent and Ryan Stone to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton today. I guess it doesn't exactly come as a surprise. I mean, it was bound to happen eventually but I suppose this means that Hall is healthy and ready to take to the ice again.

Of course, this may also just be a minor demotion during the All-Star break. Therrien has been known to just send guys off for conditioning during breaks.

In case you haven't heard, then let me be the first to tell you. The Pens are going international next year.

Similar to how the Ducks and Kings faced off in London for the kickoff to this season, the Pens and Sens will be doing just the same to start off the 2008-2009 season. Both teams will play two games in Stockholm, Sweden. I'd imagine a nice break will follow so as to alleviate jet lag. As I remember that was one of the biggest problems facing the Ducks and Kings once they came back to the states.

Considering the time differential, the puck will most likely drop around 10am EST. I'm already having anxiety attacks over this. They better win both, or the rest of my day after 1pm is gonna be messed up.

The Rangers and Lightning also have international plans, with two games scheduled in Prague.

This whole international 'thing' presents a few questions. Let's start with 5 of the 6 basic journalism questions.

Who?
Whose idea was it? I'd assume it was Gary Bettman's idea, but I'm sure there are all of these people praising the success of the England games that pushed the idea of sending over the biggest stars for other countries to envy. Crosby, Malkin, Heatley, Alfredson..

What?
What...what is the NHL going to get out of this? Do they expect the purchase of jerseys and t-shirts on their NHL store to go through the roof? Do they think more fans in Europe, after watching these games, will be more likely to stay up till the wee hours of the morning to watch US Hockey? It seems like the NHL is a cult following through all of Europe. Kinda like European Death Metal stateside...

http://www.grave.com/metal/vondur/VONDUR-b2.GIF

When?
Probably looking at the last week of September, first week October. The Ducks and Kings played on September 29 and 30. The Ducks' season in the states started on October 3rd.

Where?
http://pensburgh.com/images/admin/stockholm.gif http://pensburgh.com/images/admin/prague.gif

Why?
Exactly. Why does the NHL even bother going overseas? Practically every country in Europe has their own hockey league, so why does the NHL have to infiltrate? Doesn't do much to shoot down America's 'policing' stereotype, and it sure isn't going to draw more fans to stateside arenas. Of course, considering the potential value of the Euro to the American Dollar by 2008, this could be a rather cheap vacation for them.

Other
When the Ducks came back from England, they posted a 1-3-1 record in their first five games in the states. When asked what was faulting the reigning champs, nearly every player stated exhaustion and jet lag.

When the Kings returned from England, they posted a 1-4 record in their first five games back in the states. They too cited exhaustion and jet lag, but if you look at the standings now it was almost just seem like an excuse.

What do you guys think about the NHL on the international level? Should they bother promoting overseas, or just stay at home and try and work on that fanbase first?

Finally, as promised, here is video from the Laraque/Downie incident.

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