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Gearing up

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
The Weather

A week before the Heritage Classic, the weather forecast for the Calgary region sat just below freezing, making both teams optimistic about having to play in the elements.

On Friday morning, that all changed. The temperature is now expected to hover around -10 C and that had everyone talking after practice.

"I was pretty excited for awhile. We were talking about it. It was +2, +1, -1 and now I heard -10 or -11 so not quite as exciting," laughed Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "Maybe it will change still. If not, we'll make the most of it."

The benches will be equipped with seat warmers and David Moss fully expects them to be utilized.

"During TV timeouts, there's probably going to be a lot of guys crammed on to the bench. It will be funny."

None of the players were overly concerned about how the weather would affect their overall play.

"I don't think it'll be too bad," said Mark Giordano. "From what I hear, from guys who have played in it in the past, you get used to it once you get going. It's not bad. We'll see. I guess we'll find out tomorrow and the next day."

Head coach Brent Sutter isn't worried about the elements at all.

"Perfect weather to play hockey," he grinned.

The Rink

While the Flames are technically the home team, the club is approaching the game with the mindset of it being an away tilt.

"It will be a home game I guess because it's in Calgary," said Iginla. "But being a whole different rink and setting, it's a little bit different. It's like preparing for a road game."

His linemate Alex Tanguay expanded upon that thought, adding the team will use Saturday's practice at McMahon Stadium to test out their new home base.

"You play in different rinks and some rinks, the boards will be more lively than others. The glass will have different bounces. I think that we'll look at it tomorrow.

"We're always in different buildings and surroundings so preparation will the same. We're just anxious to get going. It's going to be fun. For us, we've had a little bit of a layoff here and we see other teams winning in the standings so we want to make sure when we get back out there in action, we get that two points. That is where the focus will be at."

David Moss is no stranger to outdoor games. The 29 year-old forward is gearing up for his third game outside, previously hitting the ice with the University of Michigan in the Cold War in 2001 and opening game of the IIHF world championship with Team USA in 2010.  The winger was quick to point out the differences when playing outside.

"With the lighting and the sunlight, there's reflections. There's ways to deal with that. You have the eye black that guys wear. It takes the glare away, like baseball players. Tinted visors too."

The Uniforms

On Friday afternoon, the Flames hit the ice donning their regular practice jerseys and their Heritage Classic socks and pants.

"We kind of looked a little weird out there today," smiled winger Curtis Glencross. "It didn't really come together real nice with our regular coloured practice jerseys. We were kind of giving it to our equipment guys, asking where's the practice jerseys. That's tomorrow."

The maroon and burgundy striped socks and beige pants drew mixed reactions from the Flames.

"I don't know about the pants," Iginla stated. "It's definitely different. But I really like the uniforms (as a whole)."

Iginla's linemate Morrison agreed with the assessment.

"I like the socks a lot. I think they look sharp. The pants are going to have to grow on my a little bit."

When asked if the new uniforms would be distracting while on the ice, Iginla just shook his head.

"We'll get used to them pretty quick. Once we're out on the ice, you don't even think about it. Practice, after the first ten minutes, felt like normal. You forget that the colours are so mixed and so different. I don't think it'll be a big deal as far as new uniforms and not recognizing guys. Once the game starts, we'll be fine."
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