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Blog: Time to go home

NHL.com's Dan Rosen was embedded with the Red Wings on their week-long trip to Sweden

Sunday, 09.27.2009 / 11:24 AM / Features
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer
Time to go home
10.3.09 / 8:10 PM ET

It's late and I'm spent, so I'm calling it a night and ending this blog right here.

By now you know the outcome, a 5-3 win by the Blues, who stunned the Red Wings and the hockey world with a pair of wins here in Stockholm.

My game recap and a story on the bittersweet memories the Wings will have from this trip have both been filed. Be sure to check them out, but I urge you to watch the remaining 13 games tonight.

It'll be a great night of hockey for you all back home in North America. As for me, I have to get up in four hours to head to the airport with a number of NHL employees who are on the 9 a.m. flight back to Newark.

It's been an unbelievable week and a fantastic two games. I hope you enjoyed reading about it every bit as much as I enjoyed bringing you the coverage.

Before I go, I'll leave you with this from Blues coach Andy Murray…

"Having four points is great, but if we could just play an NFL schedule we'd like it right now," Murray said. "We've got a full hockey schedule and there is 80 games left so it's a long year and a lot of things can happen. The bottom line is we know the Detroit Red Wings are going to beat a lot of teams and certainly we've got four points off of them, which is difficult to do. We've gone up one up in the win total where we were last year, when we were 1-5 against them. It's a good statement for our team to find a way to hang in there and win."


Saturday morning skate update, goalie shuffle
10.3.09 / 8:00 AM ET

We've might have some interesting changes for Game 2 of the 2009 NHL Premiere-Stockholm, namely in net.

While Blues coach Andy Murray was non-committal on the subject, Ty Conklin was the first goalie off the ice for the Blues this morning giving us a good indication that he will play. Chris Mason stopped 31 of 34 shots last night and was the game's second star.

Jimmy Howard was the first goalie off the ice this morning for the Red Wings, and he confirmed to us that he will indeed be in the nets for Chris Osgood. Howard said he found out this morning that he was getting the nod over Osgood, who stopped 19 of 23 last night.

We can only assume that these changes (presuming we're right on Conklin) are being made for the long-term effects they both will have. The Blues and Wings know they need to get 15-20 wins from their backups and getting them in early shows the coaches believe in them and have a plan for them.

Conklin will also be facing his old team as he was with the Red Wings last season. Howard knows he has a lot to prove to the critics who wonder if he can make it as NHL goalie, and tonight is his first chance to answer some of the questions surrounding him.

It'll be interesting to watch.

Jonathan Ericsson, who left last night's game in the second period after taking a shot off his left ankle, surprised Wings coach Mike Babcock by skating this morning. Ericsson said his ankle feels a lot better today than it did last night, but he's still a game-time decision.

Derek Meech skated extra time, though, and that's a good sign that Ericsson might be able to give it a go.

Babcock also said he had a forward who was a gametime decision, but wouldn't indicate who. I couldn't tell either. Twelve forwards skated this morning and Babcock said the only two that didn't, Pavel Datsyuk and Valterri Filppula, were good to go.

That leads me to believe that his gametime decision might have less to do with an injury and more to do with a lineup adjustment he's contemplating. That would naturally involve Patrick Eaves. However, Eaves also skated extra time with Meech, so I'm not too sure what to think. I guess we'll just have to wait for the game.

The Blues are in an envious position now as they have a chance to take four points off the Red Wings heading back to North America. That would give them a significant leg up on the rest of the Central Division teams, who each still have to play the Wings six times.

Murray will no doubt remind his guys of that throughout the day.

The Blues had what Murray calls a "necessary" today. Most coaches term them "optionals" when discussing morning skates, but Murray said he hates the term because by saying the word optional it implies a player has the right to either play well or play bad.

Instead he uses the word necessary and leaves it up to the players to decide if they need to skate. If they feel it's necessary to get out there, well then they better be out there. Murray also said guys who didn't play the night before or aren't getting a lot of ice time should always find it necessary to skate.

Today, the Blues had Cam Janssen, Alex Pietrangelo, Derek Armstrong, D.J. King (IR), Conklin, Chris Mason and Ben Bishop on the ice. The rest of the team arrived at noon for a meeting.

The only Wings who didn't skate this morning were Datsyuk, Filppula and Brian Rafalski. Don't worry, Rafalski is good to go.

I'm headed out to find some lunch and buy some chocolate for my wife. I'll be back before the game.


You can feel the buzz
10.2.09 / 12:42 PM ET

I took the subway over here to the Globe, a route I have become quite familiar with, along with ESPN.com columnist Scott Burnside and both of us commented on how there is a palpable buzz outside the arena.

You can definitely feel it here. There were many folks on our train wearing Red Wings jerseys and we got over here three hours in advance in order to watch most of the Blackhawks-Panthers game.

We met Anders Hedberg, who is scouting in Sweden for the Rangers, and we chatted with him for a while. He, too, sensed the excitement around the arena for the game and was very curious as to what kind of crowd it will be.

Judging by what I saw, it will be, as I already expected, a pro Red Wings crowd.

You know what, it should be.

This is truly Sweden's team and I believe it will be a sea of red inside this arena tonight.

I just took a walk around the glass and the NHL and the Globe staff has done something really cool here. They are feeding the Versus broadcast of the Hawks-Panthers game from Helsinki into the arena and showing it on the videoboard above center ice. Fans were welcome to come in early to watch and there are many pockets of fans that have taken advantage.

I'm back in the press room now after having some meatballs and mashed potatos and we are watching the game in here, too.

We are still more than two hours away from the puck drop, but I'm jazzed up. Finally, I've got a real game to write about.

I'll be keeping up with this blog in between periods so after the first is probably the next time you'll hear from me, unless I feel compelled to write a little bit more prior to the game.

No promises, but I hope all you folks stuck in an office somewhere on a Friday afternoon come back to me and keep clicking refresh. I'll take you through the action.


Updates from the morning skate
10.2.09 / 8:25 AM ET

Excitement is boiling over here. The Red Wings and the Blues are finished talking about what they could be this season. They're ready to find out what they are.

The puck drops here at Ericsson Globe at 9 p.m. local time, 3 p.m. EDT.

"I've been doing it a long time and I don't care whether you're coaching pee-wee hockey or professional hockey or wherever you're coaching it's really exciting and you look forward to that first game," Blues coach Andy Murray said after putting his team through the paces this morning. "Just like when you're a kid in the spring you look forward to getting the ball glove out and in the fall in my town you couldn't wait until the little pond behind the school froze because that was the first place that froze in our town. We had natural ice and then you could go to the creek when it froze and then the river. So I get that same excitement every time a season starts."

Here are the expected lines, defensive pairings and starting goalies for tonight:

BLUES

Paul Kariya-Keith Tkachuk-Brad Boyes
Andy McDonald-David Backes-David Perron
Brad Winchester-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen

Barret Jackman-Roman Polak
Darryl Sydor-Erik Johnson
Carlo Colaiacovo-Mike Weaver

Chris Mason

RED WINGS


Tomas Holmstrom-Pavel Datsyuk-Johan Franzen
Todd Bertuzzi-Henrik Zetterberg-Dan Cleary
Ville Leino-Valtteri Filppula-Jason Williams
Kris Draper-Justin Abdelkader-Kirk Maltby

Nicklas Lidstrom-Brian Rafalski
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Brett Lebda-Jonathan Ericsson

Chris Osgood


Wings coach Mike Babcock put the Wings through their routine morning skate. It was crisp and fast and relatively quiet.

Meanwhile, Murray was barking at his guys throughout their roughly 35-minute workout this morning. You could see the intensity and their focus as they skated hard and went through a series of drills.

The Blues know the building will likely be against them tonight, but all they care about is two points. That's been the message Murray has been hammering home all week, and pretty much all preseason after the way last season ended.

"If anybody knows how important two points are early in the year it's us because what we had to do at the end of last year most people would have said was impossible," Murray said. "If you'd told us in December what our record had to be in the second half to get into the playoffs and that we had to win 9 out of 10 at the end, we barely made it. So it's all about two points. I don't care if we're playing in Moscow or Souris, Manitoba, where I'm from. And, I don't care who we're playing against. It's about the points."

After holding back all week on telling us who would play on the fourth line tonight, Abdelkader dished to me that he is, in fact, in the lineup and will play center on the line with Draper and Maltby.

Patrick Eaves will be scratched along with defenseman Derek Meech.

"I thought I would go," Abdelkader told NHL.com. "They brought me over here and if they didn't have a plan for me to play they probably would have had me in Grand Rapids."

Babcock said Abdelkader is in because he's had a good camp. Draper and Maltby "get the nod because of history. That's it. Nothing more went into it than that."

As for the Blues, rookie Alex Pietrangelo made the squad but as expected he won't be in the lineup.

Johnson, meanwhile, will get to play in his first NHL game in 544 days. Johnson last played on April 6, 2008. He sat out all of last season with a knee injury and has been itching to go for quite a while.

Each team had to accommodate for the 9 p.m. start, so the morning skates were pushed back an hour each and so are the team meals.

"I'll tell you, though, our body clock is so screwed up I don't think it makes any difference," Babcock said. "This is what a Vancouver game normally is like for us. We go all the way out there, our body wants to go to bed and now we're supposed to get pumped up to play. If we can ever survive to get woken up, then we're usually pretty good. It's no different, but it's the same for them as it is for us. You gotta play the game."

So let's go ahead and do that boys.


Normal day at the office
10.1.09 / 1:02 PM ET

This will be a short entry, but I have to start out with a funny story.

So, last night we get back to our hotel here in Stockholm -- the NHL staff is at the same hotel as the Red Wings -- around 2 a.m. local time and I head over to the front desk because a FedEx package was supposed to come for me.

I left my glasses at home and since I only have my contacts, I was so scared I would lose one and thus be blind. So, I had my wife FedEx my glasses to me.

Anyway, that's not the funny part (stupid part, yes). So, as I am asking one of the front desk managers if there was a package for me, Andreas Lilja, a Swede mind you, goes over to the other front desk manager and asks, in English, "Is there a package for Lilja?"

Right then, realizing what he's done, Lilja turns around to Niklas Kronwall, another Swede waiting on line, and says, "Why did I just ask that in English? I can't believe I just did that. I'm in Sweden for cryin' out loud."

Kronwall, laughing hysterically, looks at me and says, "You've got to get that in your blog."

So it is done.

Now, onto the news of the day.

Yeah, not much to say.

The only things to really watch for are the line combos and defensive pairings and judging by what I saw, it appears as though Alex Pietrangelo won't play for St. Louis tomorrow night and Justin Abdelkader is the odd forward out for Detroit. Cam Janssen and Derek Armstrong are also likely to be scratched for the Blues.

Pietrangelo skated on a fourth defensive pairing with forward D.J. King, who is on IR. That doesn't bode well for his status tomorrow night, but he said he hasn't heard anything and Andy Murray was non-committal.

Abdelkader stayed on the ice for extra practice along with defenseman Derek Meech and third goalie Daniel Larsson, so that doesn't bode well for him either. However, Wings coach Mike Babcock said he would wait to make a decision until tomorrow.

I think the decision has already been made on both Pietrangelo and Abdelkader, but I'll have a clearer picture tomorrow.

As for other news, there wasn't any. Quiet day at the rink save for the large contingent of Swedish media in the Red Wings' locker room.

Time to bolt out for dinner.

The blog will be doing some heavy lifting tomorrow and I will also have an on-camera spot detailing the news and notes of the morning skates from the Ericsson Globe.

Until then …



Mini-Monster
10.1.09 / 4:47 AM ET

Much to my surprise, the roster sheet I got last night for Farjestad was wrong and, of course, I had no clue. Then again, how in the world was I supposed to know? It's not like I follow that team on a daily basis.

Turns out, I had the goalies all mixed up.

Due to injuries to Farjestad's top two goalies, Henrik Karlsson (shoulder) and Robin Rahm (foot), they started the game with the third goalie, Andro Michel, 19, in net. He normally plays in Sweden's second league, the Allsvenskan, with Bofors.

And, the goalie who played the third period was none other than Johan Gustafsson, 17. Yes, the Mini-Monster if you will. Gustafsson is the younger brother to Toronto rookie Jonas Gustafsson, who was Sweden's best goalie last season while playing for Farjestad.

Not only did Farjestad's crack PR man, Jorgen Kalitzki, e-mail me to make the correction but I also got an email from a Daniel Gustafsson, who I am assuming is the father to Jonas and Johan, who normally plays in the third division with Skare BK.

So, that means FBK's goalies last night were 19 and 17, respectively. And, Michel and Johan Gustafsson have only played in a combined two Swedish Elite League games.

How did I screw this up, you ask? Well, they had Michel and Rahm listed as the goalies and while I knew I had Michel right, they had Johan Gustafsson wearing Rahm's number last night. There were no names on the back of FBK's jerseys, so I was led to believe that it was, in fact, Rahm in net.

I humbly admit my error this morning, though I hardly believe it was my fault.


Wings finish off FBK, 6-2
09.30.09 / 3:08 PM ET

Niklas Kronwall extended the Wings' lead to 5-1 with Detroit's fourth power-play goal of the night 10:32 into the third period. Henrik Zetterberg won the faceoff to Dan Cleary, who somehow got the puck to Kronwall in the high slot. The Stockholm native shoveled the puck past FBK goalie Robin Rahm.

However, just 14 seconds later, Sanny Lindstrom's slap shot from the top of the right circle beat Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and the place jumped again as FBK cut the deficit to 5-2. The P.A. announcer couldn't even get through announcing Kronwall's goal before Lindstrom scored.

And, to cap it off, Pavel Datsyuk's phenomenal vision showed again. The Russian superstar looked up ice and found Todd Bertuzzi streaking down the middle. He sent the puck flying and it hit Bertuzzi in stride. The hulking forward skated in alone on a breakaway and with a few moves was able to beat Rahm with 2:54 left to make it 6-2.

Before all of that, Howard made yet another spectacular glove save.

With the Wings short a man, Howard robbed Antti Pihlstrom 5:55 into the period. Pihlstrom was alone in front of the net and fired hard, but Howard was in perfect position to make yet another magnificent save.

In giving credit where credit is due, Rahm later made his own excellent glove save on Johan Franzen, who broke in alone on Rahm and deked to his backhand before shooting with about 12:30 to play. Rahm wasn't fooled.

My guess is when I ask Mike Babcock who he thinks his best line was tonight, he's going to say the third line of Valtteri Filppula between Jason Williams and Ville Leino.

Filppula and Williams each had a goal. Leino figured in two of the Wings' goals tonight and Williams also had an assist. They were very good together and individually on special teams.

I'm not sure if there is an answer as to the 12th forward, but I'll ask Babcock anyway. He'll probably just tell me he doesn't know yet, but that's also likely the truth. I don't think Maltby, Eaves or Abdelkader stood out tonight, but they weren't bad either.

Heading downstairs now. The blog is calling it a night.


Blues' Murray on Wings

09.30.09 / 2:40 PM ET

After watching two periods here in Karlstad, Blues coach Andy Murray didn't hesitate when we asked him to give just his general thoughts on the Red Wings right now.

"Best club team in the world," Murray told Taking Stockholm. "They're just good. Nick Lidstrom will play for three years and then Ericsson will take over and be their guy. And, Kronwall is there to take over for Rafalski. They're just good."

What also impresses Murray is how they just seem to find the right guys to fill holes when good players leave. For instance, we brought up the idea of Jason Williams being on the point on the power play with his powerful slap shot.

"That's where (Mikael) Samuelsson played on their power play last year so they put another right-handed shooter back there," Murray said. "They just fill their spots. They lost a big strong winger in (Marian) Hossa so they bring in Bertuzzi. They needed a bit of energy for (Tomas) Kopecky so they brought in Eaves. They just fill their spots.

"They're the best club team in the world, and one of the best national teams in the world (Sweden). We're playing both on Friday night."


Babcock likes Blues
09.29.2009 / 2:55 PM ET

As promised, I spoke briefly with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock after the second period and boy is he pretty high on the Blues and the Central Division as a whole. And, Babcock is not one to beat around the bush or feed you a bunch of lies just to be on the right side of the political correctness debate so you know that what he says he means.

"When you look at their schedule and the way they got their team together early, they should be as ready as any team," Babcock said, noting the Blues have been using their full NHL roster for their last three preseason games, including tonight. "It's not like they're changing their team either. These kids like Oshie, Berglund, Johnson, Perron and Pietrangelo are just kids, too, and they're just getting better and better. I'll also say that Conklin is a good man and that should help them with that solid pair of him and Mason. I like their team a lot."

Of course, you can't talk to Babcock now and not bring up the Olympics, so I asked him if he was scouting Andy McDonald here because McDonald is one of the bubble players for Team Canada. He was at the Olympic orientation camp.

Babcock said he thinks guys like McDonald, Dan Cleary and Derek Roy are ideal depth guys for Canada. My guess is one of the three makes it as the 13th forward.


That's off topic, though. The game is back on.
Sampling the local culinary delights
09.29.09   7:15 am ET

I woke up today feeling fresh after trying some unbelievable Swedish meatballs and three kinds of herring (onion, mushroom and mustard) last night. Hey, when in Rome ... err Stockholm ... do as the locals do.

In fact, as I type this I am about to eat a local meal, Pytti Panna, for lunch at Pickwicks Pub, a short walk from the Blues hotel here in downtown.

Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall put me onto the meal. It's diced up potatoes, ham and onions with a fried egg on top and beetroots on the side. I will steer clear of the beetroots, but indulge in the rest.

Earlier today I was at the Globe for the Blues' morning skate. I am traveling with them by train to Linkoping for their game tonight. It should be a two-hour ride.

Anyway, Andy Murray did not like how the team skated this morning. He said they were awful, but let's cut them some slack considering it was the first time they skated on the brand new ice the NHL has made for the Premiere games. The first skate on any ice is bound to be brutal.

I spent some time chatting with Erik Johnson, who is startlingly huge. He confirmed that his body fat dropped from 14.4 percent to 8.8 percent since he last played an NHL game in 2008. A lot will be expected of Johnson this season, but I will have more on that in a story to be filed later.

I also chatted with Barrett Jackman, who also marvels at Johnson's size, strength and speed. Jackman and I talked about tonight's game and how the Blues need to stay within the system on the bigger ice. Jackman, though, said it shouldn't be a problem. He also said the Blues have had a great camp because everyone is buying what Murray and Co. are selling.

By the way, this Pytti Panna is delicious. I highly recommend it.

Also this morning I discussed the Blues' depth up front with Brad Boyes. Needless to say, he is excited.

The Blues have two lines that could be called No. 1: McDonald-Backes-Perron and Kariya-Tkachuk-Boyes. Their third line of Winchester-Berglund-Oshie should be hard to play against and the fourth line (Steen-McClement-Crombeen) has skill.

Boyes said that depth is why the Blues will be able to compete in the Central Division. Of course, it also helps that they think they solved some of their goaltending concerns by bringing Ty Conklin in to back up Chris Mason.
 
St. Louis' defense may still be a work in progress, but it has experience with Jackman, Daryl Sydor and Carlo Colaiacovo, plus the energy that Johnson and Roman Polak bring.

Alex Pietrangelo told me this morning he's still not sure what the plan is for him because nobody has told him. He could stay or go back to juniors. He will find out soon, but he feels good about his game and says that he understands the speed and pace of the NHL now.

So, with lunch done now it's time to end this blog and head over to the train station to meet up with the Blues. Stay tuned, I will have plenty more from here.


Finally, a look at the real Red Wings
09.28.2009 / 1:05 PM ET

With eight preseason games in 12 nights, the Red Wings had no choice but to keep a roster of well over 30 players for the entire portion of their North American exhibition season.

"You play as many games as we do and you can't dress everybody," Wings coach Mike Babcock said, "so that makes for some pretty ugly looking lineups."

Not anymore. While the first three weeks of training camp were partially dedicated to evaluating the young prospects in the system, this last week leading up to Friday's opener is all about getting the NHLers ready to go.

The Wings brought only 25 players with them to Stockholm and only 22 have a legitimate chance of playing in the games against St. Louis. Andreas Lilja (post-concussion syndrome) is on IR and Darren Helm (right shoulder injury) is headed there. Daniel Larsson is here as the emergency third goalie.

Lilja, Helm and Larsson were all on the ice Monday.

"In some ways, when you're practicing against yourself, sometimes the practice is better to evaluate what you're doing than some of these (exhibition) games you are playing," Babcock said. "That's the truth."

The Wings worked on all different situations, including five-on-five, power play and penalty kill. They did some 2-on-1 backchecking drills and some other one-on-one drills. For a team that had just flown overnight and landed only three and a half hours before stepping on the ice, it was a spirited workout.

But, of course, there was a purpose. Isn't that the case with everything this team does?

"We left (Detroit) at a really good time to travel (10 p.m. ET) because you're going to sleep on the flight, which is real positive," Babcock said. "If we didn't practice today they would have napped this afternoon and they would have been up half the night. If they don't sleep 'til 10, everything will be perfect. If they napped today, they were going to have a tough week."

The Wings have a team meal planned for tonight before the players are left to themselves. Count on them hitting the sack hard. I know I will after I grab a bite to eat.

We're all kind of fading now.


On our way
09.27.2009 / 8:20 PM ET

The game is over, a 4-1 Wings win, and we are on our way to Stockholm.

I am hoping to catch some good sleep on the plane but still plan on being a little off kilter tomorrow. Either way, the blog will be live and you will hopefully be reading.

Until tomorrow, bon voyage.


Rematch (of some sort) underway
09.27.2009 / 5:45 PM ET

I'm up here in the press box at Joe Louis Arena right now watching 40 players skating in what any home viewer who likes watching hockey without the sound on would just assume is a rematch of the last two Stanley Cup finals.

In uniform only, folks. In uniform only.

There's nobody in Penguins' white wearing 87, 71 or 55. Nos. 5, 11, 22, 23, 30, 40, 51 and 55 are absent from the Red Wings' roster.

Sidney Crosby is home nursing a sore groin and both Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar are scratched along with Ruslan Fedotenko and Mark Eaton.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Dan Cleary, Brett Lebda, Brad Stuart, Chris Osgood, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall are the headliners missing from the Wings' lineup for tonight's game. Also out are Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi.

So, like I said, in uniform only.

However, the crowd, which probably fills only half of Joe Louis Arena, is actually quite loud and the action has been interesting and we're only 20 minutes in.

The score is 1-1 on goals first by Pascal Dupuis for the Penguins and then a power-play tally by Johan Franzen, who danced through Pittsburgh's defense as if it were made of mush. He went around Brooks Orpik and beat Matt Cooke to the high slot. Kris Letang never stepped up and bam, Franzen ripped an easy one by Marc-Andre Fleury.

We've even seen a penalty shot, but Jimmy Howard stoned Jordan Staal at 5:53 and just 16 seconds later Franzen scored to make it 1-1.

Interesting to note is the Wings' top line of Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. I'm thinking that could be a line when the season opens Friday in Stockholm with Zetterberg centering Cleary and Bertuzzi as the other scoring line.

Patrick Eaves, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby make up a line, too, and that could be the Wings' fourth line. Ville Leino and Jason Williams have also seen time together, and they could be centered by Filppula on Friday night against St. Louis at Ericsson Globe.


Killin' time in Hockeytown

9.27.09 - 11:43 AM ET

So what is an avid sports fan who is in Detroit for only 11 hours supposed to do when he has five  hours to kill before he has to get to the arena to start some real work, if you can call it that?

Plant himself at the famous Hockeytown Cafe, of course.

With TVs and Lions' fans all around me, I am dug in, Diet Coke in hand and wings on the way, for a few hours of NFL action here at this sprawling tribute to Detroit's best team.

My New York Giants will be kicking off soon and I am lucky enough to watch. I will tell you that the Lions are kicking off at the same time at Ford Field, just a block away from here, and I could probably get a ticket on the cheap, but I would rather watch my team play than that team lose, again.

Plus, I have luggage with me and wouldn't know what to do with it. You see my point?

Anyway, my afternoon is set, but I can't stop thinking about what this journey to Sweden will bring.

Come along for the ride with me, but first enjoy your Sunday afternoon, wherever you might be.


Wheels up
09.27.09 / 8:35 AM ET

The journey begins today.

The alarm went off at 5:40 this morning and, amazingly, I popped out of bed, spry and ready to go. Mind you, this was only two hours after I fell back asleep after rocking my 3 1/2 month old son back to sleep.

I am currently sitting on a plane parked at Terminal A in Newark. I first head off to Detroit where I will meet up with the Red Wings. I will be at the Joe for their game today against Pittsburgh and leaving shortly after for a 10 p.m. EDT wheels up on my way to Stockholm.

The Blues should be arriving this morning, but we don't get in until Monday morning.

I should have some updates between now and then, plus some updates of today's game, a rematch of the Stanley Cup finals, albeit without the fanfare we experienced last June.

They're telling me to turn off my Blackberry, so away we go. Off to Hockeytown.


Clock is ticking

09.21.2009 / 2:45 PM ET

Exactly one week from today, Taking Stockholm is going to, well, take Stockholm. Although I'm going to be a tourist in a foreign land, I will also use this blog to be your tour guide through the Stockholm edition of the Compuware NHL Premiere.

My esteemed colleague, Shawn P. Roarke, has Helsinki covered in The Finnish Line blog located right here.

The National Hockey League is returning to Sweden's capital city for a second straight season and this time we're bringing what Henrik Zetterberg called Sweden's second national team, the Detroit Red Wings.

With six Swedes expected to play in back-to-back games against the St. Louis Blues, one could argue that the Wings will have a distinct home-ice advantage, at least from the crowd perspective.

While that may give you something to chew on for now, we've got a lot to do before we get down to the business of why we're going to the beautiful Scandinavian city in the first place.

Taking Stockholm makes its debut today from its home office on the 11th floor of the NHL's midtown Manhattan headquarters, but the blog will hit the road on Sunday when it leaves out of Newark Liberty Airport for Detroit, where it will catch up with the Wings.

From Detroit, Taking Stockholm will begin its adventure overseas and through six time zones to the city known as the cultural, economic, political and media capital of Sweden.

A nine hour overnight flight from Detroit to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport will give the blog ample time to rest and think about what lies ahead. It touches down just after 11 a.m. local time Monday and it will, for lack of a better term, hit the ground running.

Taking Stockholm will take you through the daily practices and interactions the Red Wings and Blues have in Sweden. Its first excursion will be to Hovet, a local arena in Stockholm, on the day it arrives to cover both the Blues' and Red Wings' practices.

It will take a train ride on Sept. 29 with the Blues to the southern Swedish city of Linkoping, where St. Louis will play an exhibition game against the local team from the Swedish Elite League.

Taking Stockholm returns to its home base after the game, but the next day gets another choo-choo ride, this time to the sunny city of Karlstad with the Wings. There, Detroit will face Farjestads BK, a legendary team in the Swedish Elite League with its eight championships.

The blog will head to Stockholm Central Station again on Thursday for a public pep rally to get the local fans geared up for the NHL action coming their way over the next two days.

Finally, on Oct. 2 the blog will find itself a cozy spot in the Ericsson Globe, an arena known to the locals simply as Globen, for the first of two main events. The Wings and Blues will play at 9 p.m. local time both Friday and Saturday, which translates to 3 p.m. ET.

A whirlwind week it most definitely will be. Taking Stockholm will put you right in the center of the action, but with a personal touch.

Come along for the ride.


Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer

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