Penguins may open 2008-09 season in Europe

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The Penguins have opened seasons on the road before, and they'll do it again when they visit Carolina Friday.

But they don't often do it like this.

They have been approached by National Hockey League officials about beginning the 2008-09 season in Prague, Czech Republic, likely with a couple of games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While Penguins and league officials have steadfastly declined to discuss anything about a possible trip to Europe next fall, Lightning President Ron Campbell confirmed to the St. Petersburg Times that his team has approached about doing so and said it is "flattered" by the league's offer.

A person familiar with the situation said nothing about a Penguins-Lightning matchup figures to be finalized for some time, but added that it is virtually certain those two teams will be involved.

The Penguins are a logical choice for such a venture because of their collection of high-profile talent, headlined by Sidney Crosby. Tampa Bay also has several big-name players, including Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards.

The Penguins kicked off the 2000-01 season with a pair of games against Nashville in Japan, going 1-1.


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