Chris Neil

NHL confirms Ottawa will get outdoor game


The Ottawa Senators will be getting their much-anticipated outdoor game — the only question is when.

“Ottawa is going to get one,” NHL COO John Collins told the Ottawa Sun. “It’s a great market. We had a great all-star experience (in 2012).

“It’s just a matter of picking a date to commit to it.”

As for when the NHL might commit, here’s the Sun’s Bruce Garrioch:

The Heritage Classic is coming to the national capital, likely in 2017 at the newly-built Lansdowne Live against the Montreal Canadiens.

That year is Canada’s 150th birthday, the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup, the 100th anniversary of the NHL and the Senators 25th year in the league.

Ottawa will participate in and outdoor game this year at the 2014 Heritage Classic, to take place at B.C. Place on Mar. 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. Collins noted that several other Canadian teams have put forth requests for a future outdoor game — Toronto and Montreal most notably — so it’s possible the Sens could take on either the Leafs or Habs when it’s their turn to play outside.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.