NEWARK, N.J. - The Flyers playing an outdoor game against Pittsburgh at Penn State on Jan. 1, 2009, is only an idea at this point but it's a good idea, the players say.
"I think that would be incredible," R.J. Umberger said before yesterday's 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. "You can just imagine how intense and how much fun that would be. I have never played in an outdoor game but I'd love to.
"To play at Penn State and having fans from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, that would probably be insane. It could probably be one of the best games in NHL history."
That might be going a little too far, but, according to the Flyers, Umberger could get the chance to test his theory. General manager Paul Holmgren revealed this weekend that the Flyers are seeing if they can arrange to play the Penguins at Penn State on that date.
The Penguins are playing the Buffalo Sabres outdoors at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., this New Year's Day and the league is hoping to host one outdoor game a year.
"I don't know if it's even feasible," Holmgren said Saturday night, "because to have ice outside at an outdoor stadium, you have to have certain temperatures. So I have no idea. I've never been to Happy Valley personally but I think it would be kind of cool."
So does Danny Briere.
"That would be a pretty cool experience," he said. "It is not something that happens very often. To say that you were able to participate in a game like that, where there are over 100,000 people attending, it would be very special to be a part of a game like that."
The Flyers are listing it as a "lower back injury," and judging by the heat pack he was wearing on his back before warmups yesterday, Kimmo Timonen has a lower back problem.
Timonen was scratched for the second game in a row with the injury. He skated during yesterday's warmups but decided he was not fit to play.
Scottie Upshall said yesterday he has no idea why Carolina's Chad LaRose was screaming his name outside the Flyers' dressing room in the Wachovia Center after Saturday's 6-5 shootout loss to the Hurricanes.
LaRose was reported to have been yelling that he wanted to fight Upshall.
According to several news reports, LaRose stood outside the Hurricanes' locker room in the hallway and screamed in the direction of the Flyers' room.
"He talks so much [stuff] on the ice out there," LaRose said. "Dirty [stuff]. Personal [stuff]. He wants to say that? Bring him the [expletive] out here right now. I even put somebody else's shoes on so I could kick him in the face."
LaRose was grabbed by teammate Niclas Wallin, who pulled him back into the locker room.
"He has issues with some players in the league and I guess I'm one of them," Upshall said. "I have really no idea why. From what I heard he was saying stuff after the game but I can't pinpoint why he would just come after myself or anyone else on my team. I've never heard his name before, I don't even know who he is.
"I don't know anything about this guy. Maybe he's just a little mixed up." *