Bettman on six outdoor games: ‘We can’t do enough of them’


The most outdoor games the NHL’s ever done in a single season is two, but in 2013-14, they’ll roll out a whopping six.

To some, that sounds a little excessive, but league commissioner Gary Bettman indicated to the Canadian Press that it’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

“If you’re looking at it on a national basis, obviously we’re doing more,” Bettman said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. “But for teams and markets that want to host this (event), for fans that want to attend, we can’t do enough of them.”

While the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Vancouver’s Heritage Classic serve as national games, Bettman made a point of emphasizing the local aspects of these groups of games.

“If you’re a team that’s hosted one, now you’re not going to wait 10 or 12 years to get another one back,” Bettman said. “(And) for markets and teams that haven’t had a chance to host it, this brings it more of a reality sooner.”

It’s pretty bold to think the NHL could pull off six, but Bettman implied that might not even be the limit.

“We’re obviously testing ourselves and our hockey operations department to make sure we can put on these six games. We’re confident that we can,” Bettman said. “But we’ll take a deep breath when all six are over and evaluate what made sense, what we can do better and whether or not we can even do more.”

Here’s the list of 2014 outdoor games, in case you need a refresher:

Jan. 1: 2014 Winter Classic – Toronto vs. Detroit at Michigan Stadium
Jan. 25: Anaheim vs. Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium
Jan. 26: New Jersey vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
Jan. 29: NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
March 1: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago at Soldier Field
March 2: 2014 Heritage Classic – Ottawa vs. Vancouver at BC Place

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.