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POSTED ON Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:50 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Ice is broken

Montreal took two tripping penalties in rapid succession to set up Calgary for the game-opening goal.

At the 6:11 mark, P.K. Subban was whistled for tripping Tom Kostopoulos in the corner. Thirty-three seconds later, Hal Gill went to the box after committing a trip at his own blue line.

Carey Price started the 5-on-3 kill well by robbing Bourque early in the two-man advantage. But, Bourque got even when he tipped a shot past price at the 8:09 mark.

Gill was playing in his first game after returning from injury, Defenseman James Wisniewski also played in the game, despite taking a puck to the cheek just three days earlier. He had to play with a full shield. Mike Cammalleri also returned to the lineup after a long absence.

With those returns, Alexandre Picard and Tom Pyatt were Montreal's scratches.
POSTED ON Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

We're underway

As expected, the ice has been an early talking point as the bitter cold has impacted the ability to maintain the ice at a proper temperature.

Earlier Sunday, Dan Craig and his ice crew decided that they would not take the Zamboni onto the ice surface for fears of further damaging the surface. So, the crew is shoveling the ice clear by hand and flooding it with a hose.

They are also patching holes on the ice during breaks to make the ice as good as possible, resulting in a few delays.
POSTED ON Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:32 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Pre-game festivities

The 2011 Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic is just about ready to start after a spectacular pre-game ceremony.
Both Thompson Square and paul Brandt handled the anthems flawlessy. Brandt, a Calgary boy, belted out O Canada while wearing a Flames Heritage Classic jersey.
The highlight, though, might have been a fly-over by the canadian Snow Birds.
Now, it is time to play. The game-time temperature is minus-11, but feels like minus-20 celsius because of a strong wind that will blow at the Flames back in the first period. Montreal will have the wind advantage in the second period and the teams will switch sides midway through the third period to even out the advantage.
POSTED ON Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 11:25 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Iginla never worried about trade, missing Heritage

Earlier this season when it looked like the Flames had zero chance at a playoff spot, the talk began to center around the team potentially trading Jarome Iginla.

Iginla has a contract that runs through 2013, but if the Flames were looking to rebuild, they could get quite the haul for him. With that trade talk swirling around the Flames captain in December, it was possible Iginla wouldn't be wearing a Flames jersey when the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic rolled around in February.

Iginla said he heard the rumors, but he was never worried about not being part of this outdoor game.

"The possibilities of being traded or all the talk about blowing the team up, I'd be lying if I said I never, ever thought about that," Iginla said. "But no, it wasn't about this game. We were just focusing on our next game. To be honest, more than anything, it's just kind of crept up."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 9:09 PM

By Brian Hunter -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Cammalleri excited to return in time for Heritage

When Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri fell into the boards following a check from Sabres defenseman Mike Weber in a Jan. 18 game and dislocated his left shoulder, it put playing in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in serious doubt.

Exactly one month later, Cammalleri took full part in Thursday's practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome. In his press conference afterward, coach Jacques Martin said he looked good and indicated he would likely be in the lineup Sunday when the Canadiens face the Flames at McMahon Stadium.

Cammalleri didn't want to give anything away when a reporter asked a question that anticipated he would play in the Heritage, asking, "Is it official?" After being told Martin expressed as much, Cammalleri responded, "Then good. Yeah, I'm playing."

He continued: "I'm really happy, first of all just to be back. It's been a while. But this weekend's a special weekend and I'm going to try to really take it all in, for sure. Very, very happy to be playing."

Cammalleri scored a career-high 39 goals in 2008-09, his only season playing in Calgary. He signed a five-year contract with Montreal on July 1, 2009, and finished with 26 goals and 50 points in his first season with the Canadiens. He has 13 goals and 31 points in 44 games this season.

"I had a really good time in Calgary. I was only here the one season but I seemed to make a lot of really good friends," Cammalleri said. "It's a special place for me and it feels great to be back. This morning we got in late [after playing in Edmonton on Thursday night], but I woke up well before my alarm to get around town and get back to some of the old digs. I went back to the old supermarket, picked up some stuff, the whole thing."
POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 8:52 PM

By Brian Hunter -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Dealing with cold a unique challenge for goaltenders

There's little doubt it will be cold late Sunday afternoon when the puck drops on the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium in Calgary -- the only question is how cold.

For most of the players, it won't be that big a deal. When they're out on the ice, skating in on a rush or attempting to defend against one by their opponents, the frigid temperatures get blocked out. And when they're sitting on the benches, well, at least those will be heated.

Miikka Kiprusoff and Carey Price, the respective starting goaltenders for the Flames and Canadiens, have neither of those luxuries. They expect to play all 60 minutes of the game and will spend the entire time -- save for maybe the TV timeouts -- in the confined area of their creases.

Is there anything a goaltender can do to prepare himself for a game like this?

"You just try to stay warm somehow," Kiprusoff said. "We have some pretty good underwear to wear under [the jersey] to keep you warm, too. But you don't want to put too much on, either."

The Flames and Canadiens practiced at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday but will take the ice at McMahon for the first time Saturday, which Price hopes will give him some sort of idea what to expect.

"I don't even know, I'm going to have to try to figure out something in practice tomorrow," he said. "Figure out the best type of underwear to wear … that's why we're going to practice outside tomorrow, try to figure some things out."

While skaters like David Moss and Mike Cammalleri, who played outdoors for the University of Michigan in the 2001 "Cold War" game against Michigan State, might be able to provide tips for the other forwards and defensemen, Price didn't expect to ask anyone who had past experience in an outdoor game for advice.

"It all depends … for goaltenders there is a difference. You could work up a sweat and then just sit for two, three, four minutes and not do anything," Price said.

Kiprusoff was asked if this is the type of game where he wouldn't mind a heavy workload, especially seeing some shots early to get himself warmed up and into the action.

"Every game you want to see some shots, but it's different because it's pretty cold," he said. "I hope it's not crazy cold because that makes it difficult, especially for goalies."
POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 8:23 PM

By Brian Hunter -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Canadiens react to Bruins' day of trades

All season long, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have been the two teams battling it out for supremacy in the Northeast Division, so when the Bruins made a pair of big trades Friday, landing standout defenseman Tomas Kaberle from Toronto as well as forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Mark Stuart from Atlanta, the natural question became what, if anything, the Habs will do in response prior to the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

"If you look at it, there's a couple teams in the [Eastern] Conference that have tried to add and really bolster their lineups here in the last few weeks," Montreal forward Mike Cammalleri said. "Time tells. I say it all the time but that's how we play sports, that's why we drop the puck and play. We never know how things are going to unfold. Managers make these moves to try and strengthen their rosters, but we’ll see."

The Canadiens did make a significant roster move in the past several days, reacquiring defenseman Paul Mara from the Ducks. Their blue line has taken hit after hit this season, losing power-play quarterback Andrei Markov and emerging talent Josh Gorges to season-ending knee injuries. James Wisniewski, brought over from the Islanders in late December, is day-to-day after taking a puck to the face in Thursday's loss to the Oilers -- a gruesome-looking injury the team hopes doesn't involve any facial fractures.

"Paul's an experienced defenseman," coach Jacques Martin said. "We had Paul last year. Unfortunately he got injured three-quarters into the season and missed the last stretch of the season and the playoffs. But he's an individual that is well-received by his teammates, well-appreciated by his teammates, has got good size, brings a physical presence to our blue line and I think will help us in the stretch here."
POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 5:45 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Facing the Habs not a big deal to Tanguay

There were a lot of expectations when Alex Tanguay arrived in Montreal before the 2008-09 season.

The Flames traded Tanguay to the Canadiens in a draft-day deal in exchange for a first- and second-round pick after a disappointing pair of season in Calgary.

Things were going well for him with the Canadiens as he posted 16 goals and 25 assists in 50 games. But a separated shoulder cost him two months, and the Canadiens chose not to re-sign him after the season.

After spending one season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tanguay rejoined the Flames this summer. But there's no extra incentive or added emotion facing the team that let him walk two seasons ago.

"It's been a couple years," Tanguay said. "I don't think there's too many guys who are there since I was there. To me, it's not going to be any different than any other game."

Sunday's game will be a rare chance for the Quebec native to play in the great outdoors.

"I never really played outside," Tanguay said. "We had covered ice in a dome. It was natural ice underneath the dome, but I didn't have to deal with the elements."
POSTED ON Friday, 02.18.2011 / 4:37 PM

By Brian Hunter -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Playing outdoors nothing new for Moss

While there are plenty of NHL veterans still waiting to play in their first outdoor game, Calgary Flames forward David Moss will be skating in his third on Sunday.

The 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic completes a trifecta for the 29-year-old Moss, a five-year NHL veteran. Back in his collegiate days at the University of Michigan he was part of the famous "Cold War" game that began the outdoor hockey craze. Just last year, he was on the U.S. team that played Germany in the World Championship.

"They were both unique," Moss said. "The one in Michigan was special because it was a college atmosphere and it was a big rivalry. The one in Germany was a little bit different because I'd never seen fans that cheer the whole game like that, so it was pretty special, too."

The high temperature for Sunday is projected to be 29 degrees Fahrenheit and partly cloudy, although by the time the puck drops after 4 p.m. Mountain Time, it figures to be dropping closer toward the low of 8 degrees. Moss was asked if the players will be wearing extra clothing under their jerseys.

"I guess it depends on how cold it is. The first game I played at Michigan it was much colder than expected so I know guys had a little bit heavier stuff on underneath their equipment. I think it just depends on what the weather's like and what guys feel comfortable wearing," Moss said.

"I think most guys will change between periods. That's been my experience before, put something dry on and just go from there. Especially if you've been sitting around for a time, it gets cold."

There's also a 20 percent chance of precipitation for Sunday, so snow flurries aren't out of the question. Beyond that, issues like glare caused by the setting sun can be dealt with easily enough by the players, Moss said.

"The lighting and the sunlight, there's reflections, but there's way to deal with that, eye black and stuff like that," he said.

Moss scored a goal and added 3 assists in Calgary's 9-1 rout of Colorado on Monday and his line with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross, dubbed the "OMG" line locally, has been on a tear of late.

"We've been fortunate to find the score sheet lately," Moss said. "Olli and Glennie are really playing some good hockey and Brent's kind of given us a role to play against other team's top lines. We've adjusted well to that."
POSTED ON Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 7:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Dropkick Murphys bagpiper pulling for Flames

Scruffy Wallace of the Dropkick Murphys has been in Boston for almost a decade, adopting the ways of the parochial city that his band celebrates in so many of their songs.

While not quite as Boston yet as Bobby Orr, Fenway Park or Sam Adams, Wallace has become a part of the city, laying down pretty strong roots. He owns a house in one of Boston's many diverse neighborhoods and is part-owner of a local watering hole.

But, his heart still belongs to Calgary, the place his family settled after emigrating from Great Britain when he was just a child. In fact, the bagpipes he plays for the Murphys are adorned with the provincial flag of Alberta.

And, it is Calgary that will once again own his heart this Sunday when he will gather a group of friends to his home and tune into Versus to watch the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens at Calgary's McMahon Stadium.

"There's a big part at my house," Wallace Told NHL.com on Thursday, just minutes after the band finished rehearsal for an upcoming tour to celebrate the release of the band's latest disc, Going Out in Style, which debuts March 1. "I got my Flames jersey all ready to go. We'll have some steak tips and some beers and watch the game."

And, make no mistake, it will be a pro-Flames gathering.

"Hopefully the Flames will destroy the Canadiens," Wallace said. "I don't like the Canadiens."

Wallace's friends from Boston also don't like the Canadiens after years of the Montreal franchise wearing the black hats in The Hub. So, they could be some pretty loud cheers emanating from Wallace's neighborhood Sunday.

But, he knows it will be nothing like the noise that will engulf McMahon Stadium on Sunday.

"Calgary is such a great hockey town," says Wallace, who played goalie until he joined the military and took up rugby. "It's a really intense hockey town. That's why I could relate to Boston when I moved here."

Wallace would love to be in Calgary as his Flames and the Canadiens rekindled a rivalry that defined Wallace's time there. The teams met in the Stanley Cup Final in both 1986 and 1989. Montreal won the 1986 matchup, but the Flames gained revenge three years later in the final game of Calgary legend Lanny MacDonald's career.

Despite being from Great Britain originally, Wallace took to hockey immediately upon arriving in Calgary.

"In Canada, hockey is not a sport, it's a way of life," Wallace said. "You can't help but follow it."

But, now Wallace's new way of life -- playing the pipes in a rock band -- prohibits him from even entertaining the idea of going to Calgary for the game, which will be the biggest event in the city in quite some time.

The Dropkick Murphys are in the middle of intense rehearsals in preparation of a spring tour, which opens next week in Niagara Falls, N.Y., to support the Going out in Style disc. Her can't pull himself away from that -- not that he would want to.

"We're all really excited about this new record," Wallace said. "It's been long overdue."

Wallace also thinks the album shows some real growth by the band, without deviating too far afield from its Celtic punk roots.

Plus, Bruce Springsteen makers a cameo on the album, assuring that it will be a worthwhile listen.

"You're talking about Bruce Springsteen here," Wallace said. "He was gracious  to sing some songs for us and we are pleased as punch with the results."
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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery