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Take it all in

by Kristi Hennessy / Calgary Flames

The Heritage Classic is just five days away. The excitement and anticipation of this big event is growing every day. The expectation of an intense and electric atmosphere are extremely high for not only the fans, but the players alike.

Hundreds of people and hours are involved in helping make this outdoor hockey game possible. It takes a lot more planning than anyone could even begin to imagine. So what about the players? Is there a different preparation process for a game like this or is it like every other game?

"Well, I think as far as the habits and stuff like that, the preparation, it stays pretty much the same where you're just playing in different rinks and different atmospheres and different dressing rooms and stuff like that." said Tanguay. "But as far as that's concerned, I don't think that's going to make a difference in our preparation.

"But as players, we are definitely going to try to feed off the crowd and we know it's going to be a very unique experience for us. Not too many guys get to experience this in the NHL playing in front of 40,000 people in your home, with your home crowd on your side. So it's going to be fun.We are looking forward to it"

Flames David Moss already has a pair of outdoor experiences under his belt. The first came on October 6th, 2001, when he took part in the 'Cold War' game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The game set a then-world record for the largest crowd at an ice hockey game with 74,544.

"The conditions were pretty good, despite being pretty cold outside," said Moss of the Michigan college game. "There wasn't much wind and wasn't any snow or anything like that so for an outdoor game the conditions were good and hopefully it can be the same in Calgary."

His second experience took place at the 2010 IIHF World Championships held in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The opening game of the tournament set a new record for attendance at an ice hockey game with 77,803 fans packed into Veltins-Arena.

"The outdoor game in Germany was in a soccer stadium so it wasn't fully outdoors so the conditions there were great." he explained.

As for Sunday's game in Calgary, Moss says he's looking forward to taking in his third overall outdoor experience and his first on Canadian soil.

"I think you try to take in the experience," said Moss. "It's something that doesn't happen every day and to have it in your home city in front of your home fans, I think all the guys will be taking in the experience."

The Heritage Classic couldn't come at a better time for the surging Calgary Flames. Only the Vancouver Canucks have collected more points since Christmas. The Flames are sitting pretty in a playoff berth and are now fighting for position. That alone is expected to lift the intensity of this game tremendously.

"Yeah, I think it adds to the experience," Moss said. "The game is going to be, you know, a fun game anyways, and with the importance of us playing for a playoff spot and Montréal already being in this spot and they are fighting for position, too, I think that adds to the atmosphere and probably will add to the intensity of the game."

With that said, both Tanguay and Moss along with the rest of the Flames, understand that this is still a game and that two points are up for grabs. The Flames cannot forget they still have a job to do.

"I think that we are very well aware that it's going to be a fun experience and very unique," Tanguay added. "But we have to be professional about it. And we know that those two points might be the difference for us getting in and us getting out. So we have to make sure that we don't give away games.

"Our fans are certainly going to help us a lot more on that one.It's going to be very loud outside with 40 plus thousand fans.So it's going to be, you know for sure, we are not forgetting the task at hand."

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