SUN Hockey Pool

Cancelled trip OK with players

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- Craig Conroy had a succinct response when told the Flames won't open the 2009-10 season in Finland.

"Good," he said after yesterday's morning skate. "When you talk to guys that have gone overseas, it seems like it's hard on your body. When you get older, you want to travel as little as possible.

"It would have been great for Kipper (goalie Miikka Kiprusoff) to stay there and then play, but for me, I'd just as soon go right to the Saddledome and get ready for the season, not have all that travel."

As for Kiprusoff, he was unfazed by the news.

"It was speculation. Nobody even talked about it," said the laid-back goaltender, never one to show his emotions anyway. "Maybe some year because teams are going to Europe."

The NHL announced yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will open the season with a pair of games in Helsinki, while the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues will face off in Stockholm, Sweden.

The original plan was to send six teams to Europe, with Calgary and San Jose skating in Helsinki, while Chicago and Florida would skate in Prague, Czech Republic. Reportedly, issues with promoters in Prague kiboshed plans there.

No word whether the Flames and Sharks will be first choice for the following season.

"It would be fun to go and see everything," Conroy said. "That's how I felt, 'If we go, it'll be a positive.' It'd be fun to go for a few more days so you can see things and get adjusted. I know the Olympics were tough coming back.

"Now that we're not going, though, it doesn't bother me."

Added forward Eric Nystrom: "That would have been a cool experience to play over there. It's tough, though. I think those teams struggle when they get back. It's a long trip and with the time change, it's tough, but it's still a unique experience that would be pretty fun."


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