SUN Hockey Pool

Lemieux leading alumni in outdoor game

Penguins great, Mario Lemieux drops bthe puck before the first period action in game 3 of the...

Penguins great, Mario Lemieux drops bthe puck before the first period action in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings at the Mellon Arena in Pittsbugh Pennsylvania USA May 29th, 2009. (Dave Abel/QMI AGENCY)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:20 PM ET

Mario Lemieux will be joined by fellow Hall of Famers Paul Coffey, Ron Francis and Bryan Trottier and newly retired whipper-snapper Bill Guerin as the Pittsburgh Penguins alumni take on their counterparts from the Washington Capitals on Dec. 31 at Heinz Field.

The old-timers game is part of the NHL Winter Classic weekend.

The Caps will be led by Peter Bondra. Full rosters have not been announced.

"We all grew up playing on outdoor rinks, so we're really looking forward to having this chance to skate on the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field," Lemieux said Friday. "There is so much history between the Penguins and Capitals and it will be good to get together and see friends on both benches."

The alumni game is set to begin on 9:30 a.m. on New Year's Eve and will be followed by a Penguins practice at Heinz Field. A ticket to both events will cost $25 and seating capacity will be 10,000.

The Winter Classic between the Penguins and Capitals will be played on the same rink Saturday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Another outdoor game is set for Saturday -- the Michigan-Michigan State Big Chill at the Big House in Ann Arbor -- and Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks it should be a double-header.

The Red Wings were scheduled to be home to the Montreal Canadiens Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

"This should be a weekend combination," Babcock said to the Detroit News. "I say this every year, State and Michigan could do all the work for the NHL and you could have a game here every year. It holds what, 117,000 (fans)? That wouldn't be bad.

"To me it's a slam dunk. The facility is all set up. We could have played this game out there (in Ann Arbor). It would have been a good deal."

MALKIN TO SKATE

Evgeni Malkin, who has missed three games because of a knee injury, may be close to returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup.

"Geno is significantly better than we had hoped and planned, and he'll be on the ice with us (Saturday) at the morning skate," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Friday.

STAR TOO SORE

Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to miss at least two games because of a sore back.

"He is receiving treatment again today and if all goes well he might be on the ice tomorrow," Stars coach Marc Crawford said Friday, according to ESPN Dallas.

"He won't play these next two games and we'll see where he goes ... The prudent thing to do is be cautious ... and let his body heal. His body is telling him right now that it needs some time and that's what we are giving him."

Andrew Raycroft was pencilled in to start Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in Dallas and Saturday in Glendale, Ariz., against the Phoenix Coyotes.


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