Asper asks for time

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

David Asper says give him two weeks, or a little more. That's when we should get an update on his stadium proposal.

If you're like me, you're wondering what kind of luck the would-be owner of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is having getting lease commitments for his new shopping complex in this trying economic climate.

The complex, at the Polo Park site, is supposed to help fund Asper's new stadium at the University of Manitoba, in addition to funding the team.

So it's critical to the whole plan.

Asper, though, was very vague when I asked him yesterday how business is going.

"It's our hope that sometime around, or maybe a little bit after, Labour Day that we're going to be able to give everybody a very comprehensive update," he said.

"But I can't say anything now. There's too much in process right now."

In one breath he acknowledged the economy was a challenge, in the next he assured his sales team was addressing it.

Pushed on whether he'll reach his targets by the end of August, Asper was as tough to pin down as running back Charles Roberts used to be.

He wouldn't say if the project could be delayed, or address any potential Plan B.

"I'm not going to comment on what we're going to discuss at the end of the month," he said.

He did acknowledge the scope of the stadium could be scaled back, but he said the project has always been "scaleable."

"Look, we're going to have a new football stadium," he said. "Period. End of discussion.

"I keep saying it. Just everybody keep your eye on the ball."

You may recall Asper dubbed this portion of his plan "Third and Goal" a while back.

I can't help but wonder if we're going to see an audible.

COACH'S DOUBLESPEAK: What's that, some more egg on the face of Bombers head coach Mike Kelly?

Kelly thought he'd released O-lineman Kelly Bates yesterday. Talked about him as if he were already gone in his daily media briefing.

Trouble is, just days earlier he'd yanked Bates out of the starting lineup, saying he was too banged up to play -- and you can't cut a player who's injured.

Now the Bombers have a potential grievance on their hands. Either that, or they'll convince Bates to go on the nine-game injured list, which means they'll be forced to continue to pay the veteran all season.

So why didn't Kelly just come clean from the start, and say Bates was being pulled due to his performance?

Instead, he told Bates to tell the media he was hurt, and it's come back to bite him.

FLEURY-FREE ZONE: Wondering if Theo Fleury's NHL comeback bid could begin right here, in his old backyard, with our very own Manitoba Moose?

Wonder no more.

The Moose say they have zero interest in the product of Russell, Man., who's struggled with substance abuse issues and been out of the NHL for six years.

The Moose figure one guy in his 40s is enough -- captain Mike Keane, Fleury's former junior teammate, is 42.

PUTTING FOR GOLD: You may have heard the International Olympic Committee is one step closer to adding golf and rugby to the Olympic Games in 2016.

If golf, indeed, makes the final cut, it raises the distinct possibility Mike Weir will be defending this country's gold medal, 112 years after the fact.

The last time golf was played in the Games was in 1904, when Canadian George Lyon topped the podium.


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