Flames/Habs alumni tilt in works
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
It's not the NHL all-star fantasy draft, but word has it Jim Peplinski and Brian Skrudland have been recruiting former teammates for an alumni game for next month's Heritage Classic.
Peplinski was part of the 1989 Stanley Cup-winning squad in Calgary, where the Flames will battle the Montreal Canadiens outdoors at McMahon Stadium.
The Flames haven't made anything official, but confirmed yesterday an alumni game is something they've been discussing.
"All I can say for certain is the entire team has been put on alert, Bob Johnson's training manual has been pulled out and all are stretching using Pierre Page's 3S stretching method," Peplinski said in a text Monday night. "Still lots of work to do."
Goaltender Mike Vernon is one of the names being thrown out there as a confirmed player for the Flames.
"Vernie has not had the pads on or worked for eight years," said Peplinski. "What are the chances? Many important issues to solve before these rumours can be confirmed."
Skrudland, who now calls Calgary home, is apparently working on getting together as many of his fellow 1986 championship Habs (who beat the Flames in the final) for the game that would take place Saturday evening before Sunday's main event on Feb. 20.
The original Heritage Classic in 2003 featured an alumni game between the host Edmonton Oilers and the Canadiens. The rosters included Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Jarri Kurri, Esa Tikkannen and Paul Coffey for the Oilers. Guy Lafleur, Guy Carbonneau, Russ Courtnall, Kirk Muller, and Larry Robinson formed the backbone of the Habs alumni squad.
Mario Lemieux headlined the an alumni game at this year's Winter Classic between his Penguins and the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on New Year's Day.