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Dealing with cold a unique challenge for goaltenders

by Brian Hunter /
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."
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