Monic Enciso prepares a large U.S. flag in the stands at Dodger Stadium as preparations continue for the 2014 NHL Stadium Series hockey game at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks will play outdoors at Dodger Stadium Saturday.
Photograph by: Nick Ut, AP
Outdoor game Saturday in L.A.
The NHL explores new territory Saturday with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings meeting in an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium (9:30 p.m., CBC, RDS2). The temperature at game time is expected to be around 15 Celsius and that will be a test for NHL ice-guru Dan Craig and his crew. If they can produce an NHL-calibre playing surface, you can expect more outdoor games in warmer climes. Saturday night’s game is expected to be close to a sellout. Kelly Cheeseman, the chief operating officer for the Kings, noted that the late Jack Kent Cooke had trouble attracting fans after he brought an expansion team to L.A. in 1967. Said Cheeseman: “Hopefully, he is looking down and smiling now.” It should be noted that Cooke was on record as saying the Kings might have been a mistake. He was fond of saying: “I was told there were 250,000 Canadiens living in L.A. and I discovered they all moved here because they hated hockey.”
Full house at Red Wings’ morning skate
The Detroit Red Wings had 31 players on the ice for their morning skate before Friday night’s game against the Canadiens. “It’s too many,” coach Mike Babcock said, but he noted it was a sign he Red Wings — who have lost 218 man games to injuries this season — are getting closer to being at full strength. Johan Franzen was in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 15, while Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing six games.
Canucks spike ‘Free Torts’ campaign
The Vancouver Canucks have put an end to a social media campaign to support suspended coach John Tortorella. Two fans started a freetorts website and were selling T-shirts with the coach’s likeness and the legend “Free Torts.” The team issued a cease-and-desist order to halt the sales. Treven LePage, one of the fans involved, said he sold most of the 100 shirts he ordered and was glad he didn’t order 10,000 shirts.
An unusual empty-net goal
You can always count on the delightfully warped mind of Puck Daddy associate editor Harrison Mooney to deliver the absurd side of the game, and the Vancouver-based blogger brings us this account of last week’s most unusual empty-net goal. The Denver University Pioneers — not to be confused with the school’s varsity squad — defeated rival Utah State on an overtime goal from defenceman Robert Biedron. With 15 seconds remaining in OT and the Pioneers short-handed, Biedron took the puck off a defensive-zone faceoff and his clearing attempt went the length of the ice into an empty net. The story here is why the net was empty. It seems Utah State goaltender Keegan McHenry took advantage of a break in the action and was chatting with some fans in the corner when the puck was dropped. He returned to the crease just in time to miss the puck with a diving belly-flop that looked like a scene from March of the Penguins.
Familiar surroundings for Chelios’s sons
Michigan State seniors Dean and Jake Chelios were in familiar surroundings Thursday night as the Spartans played Michigan at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. The brothers often accompanied their father, Chris Chelios, to the arena for practice during his 10-year stint with the Red Wings and they have played a dozen college games at The Joe. Thursday’s game against Michigan marked their final visit to the arena as players and it was a bittersweet farewell as Michigan beat its state rival 2-1.
Nilan, Boone guests on this week’s HI/O Show
Former Canadien Chris (Knuckles) Nilan and Mike Boone are the guests on this week’s HI/O Show on The Gazette’s hockeyinsideout.com website, joining Gazette sports editor/host Stu Cowan to discuss the latest Canadiens news. Among the topics discussed are the latest P.K. Subban controversy, whether defenceman Nathan Beaulieu is ready now for the NHL, and if Louis Leblanc’s days in the Canadiens organization are numbered with his contract running out at the end of this season. You can watch a new HI/O Show every week, get all the latest news on the Canadiens, post comments and follow Boone’s live blog during every Habs game, at hockeyinsideout.com.
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