Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Outdoor game for Calgary?

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THE Calgary Flames, at one point last season, were in the running to host an outdoor game. But that novel idea -- being the second half of a New Year's Day doubleheader that would start with the Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston and conclude with a match at McMahon Stadium -- was scrubbed.

However, at the NHL's board of governors meetings in Pebble Beach, Calif., this week the notion of Calgary was again brought up.

"All I will say is that I can confirm that we would very much like to host a winter (outdoor) game," Flames president Ken King said Wednesday, "and would expect that the league would listen to our ambitions as closely as they would anybody else's."

King added that the Flames weren't soured by last year's process.

"We're delighted that the concept of a second game is on the agenda ... and we'd love to be in it."

Speculation is that, in February of next season, the Flames would meet the Vancouver Canucks at McMahon Stadium.

No fan of Saskatoon

PHOENIX Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall grew up in Western Canada, but says the possibility that the Coyotes might play five games in Saskatoon next season does not make a lot of sense.

First of all, he is concerned about straying further away from a fragile fan base.

"It would be really bizarre," said the Alberta-born Upshall, who was equally against the team playing in Winnipeg, where the franchise moved from in 1996.

"Why should it be Saskatoon? Who has the right to have that team there? We're talking thousands of miles here and that's not even the hometown. What do you call the team then: the Phoenix/Saskatoon Coyotes?"

The idea to play home games in Saskatoon was reportedly put forth by Ice Edge Holdings, which signed a letter of intent to purchase the franchise last week. By doing so, it is believed that the team might be able to recoup some of its operating losses.

Schenn continues to sit

LUKE SCHENN was made a healthy scratch for his third straight game on Wednesday. If this keeps up, the 20-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman could be sent down to the minors.

"Players have to play, in particular young players," Dave Nonis, senior vice-president of hockey operations, told Sportsnet's Hockey Central on Tuesday. "If there was ever a situation where there's a young player, whether it be Luke Schenn or Carl Gunnarsson or anyone like that, is sitting and watching games at the (Air Canada Centre) for a long period of time that's not going to serve anybody... we're not at that point at this time."

The reason Schenn has not been able to get back into the lineup is because replacements Jeff Finger and Garnet Exelby have given head coach Ron Wilson no reason to be sat out.

-- Canwest News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 17, 2009 C4

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