The city of Calgary woke Wednesday morning to temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit and a light, but persistent snow falling.
It was a marked contrast to the previous day, when the mercury got up into the mid-40s and provided almost balmy conditions for the work crews preparing the rink at McMahon Stadium for Sunday's 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic.
Currently, the forecast for game day calls for a temperature of 31 degrees (-1 Celsius) and partly cloudy skies, but the players know anything could happen between now and then and are bracing themselves for any kind of weather.
"You can't predict it -- every day it seems like the forecast is changing," defenseman Mark Giordano said. "I was watching a little bit about that Edmonton game [the 2003 Heritage Classic, when the temperature was -22 Fahrenheit], the guys were talking about it the other day. It was cold, but they got through it. I'm sure we'll be fine, once we get into the game."
The inaugural Winter Classic, held on New Year's Day in 2008 between the Sabres and Penguins, saw snow fall at Ralph Wilson Stadium, providing for a picturesque backdrop to a thrilling game won by Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby in a shootout.
All the same, Flames captain Jarome Iginla said snow would not be part of his ideal forecast for the Heritage Classic.
"I'd rather not a day like today," Iginla said with a laugh. "In a perfect world, plus-2 or 3 (Celsius), sunny ..."
A reporter interjected wouldn't the sun get in the players' eyes?
"We have tinted visors," Iginla said, noting that with a 4 p.m. Mountain Time start, the sun probably wouldn't be a factor beyond the first period.