Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big-Time Outdoor Hockey

About a month ago, when I first mentioned that I might write about the Calgary Flames' outdoor game, I was less than enthusiastic about the prospect.  At the time, they had been in 14th place in the conference for a very long time and it looked like the game would be meaningless.  However, thanks to an incredible run, the Flames are back in playoff contention and the points up for grabs in the Heritage Classic were big ones for both teams.

These outdoor games have become a nice gimmick for the NHL, and the TV networks get to do nice montages showing kids playing on ponds and such.  I'm sure that no-one is complaining about the merchandise profits and beer sales either.  And, as I said in my previous article, it also gives me a chance to write a little bit about the NHL and stay within the context of this blog.

There were some great scenes, especially whenever you could see the big open sky above the playing surface, or see the players' breath because of the cold; both are big elements that embody what playing hockey outdoors is all about.  Another one was no Zamboni!  Still, the best scene was ultimately Flames 4, Habs 0.  Check out's video:

It makes things more enjoyable when the team you cheer for is playing well, but it wasn't that long ago when many Flames fans and hockey experts were calling for a complete dismantling of the team - including trading Jarome Iginla.  While I don't think this team will win the Stanley Cup this year - I hope I'm wrong! - I really do hope that Iggy gets to hoist the ol' mug someday.  He might have to do it the same way Ray Bourque did, and if he does eventually go to another team I will temporarily change my allegiance and cheer for that team.  Please please please don't let it be Montreal, however...that would be really tough to do.

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