It’s game day for the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic and the city of Calgary is buzzing with excitement. At 4pm the Calgary Flames will face-off against the Montreal Canadiens in a game that is as important to the standings as it is to the culture of hockey in Canada. Both the Flames and Canadiens are in the playoff race and each two point victory is important for both teams from here to the end of the season.
So far the majority of talk surrounding this afternoon’s game has been around the weather and ice conditions. The weather was very cold for yesterday’s Alumni Game, but it is steadily warming up today. It’s a sunny day in Calgary and the current temperature is -14 degrees Celcius. The forecast high for this afternoon is -8 and should be kicking in right around puck drop. We will have a couple hours of sunshine until the sun sets at 6pm. The last hour of the game will cool down considerably if the weather continues in the same pattern as it has for the last couple days.
The ice conditions during the alumni game were pretty poor, and word is that the NHL has been working on the ice since then. We’ll have to see how it ends up for today’s game. Whatever the result, we know that today’s ice won’t be covered in snow like it was in Pittsburgh on New Year’s day.
As was to be expected, there has been a large media circus and lots of talk and speculation surrounding the game. Some of it has focused on the return to outdoor hockey in Canada, while other pieces have focused on Robyn Regehr wearing a Riders toque while practicing yesterday or Carey Price’s vintage mask. Mike Cammalleri will be returning to the Canadiens lineup tonight, and he was his usual self with the media yesterday.
Whatever the talk has been over the past couple days, it means nothing when the puck drops at 4pm. Both teams need the 2 points and they will be coming out gunning. I’ll be in the stands with about 40,000 other hockey fans today, but don’t expect too many tweets coming from me. I was at the @CFL Western Final a few months ago and I know that my fingers won’t last too long outside of my gloves.
For your enjoyment, here is the Heritage Classic Twitter feed below to follow along before and during the game: