Sat Feb 19 07:31pm EST
CALGARY, The Surface of Pluto -- It's rather chilly on the eve of the NHL Heritage Classic.
Not brutally; there's no driving wind around McMahon Stadium, no precipitation stinging the face. But it's a multilayer, keep the coffee steaming kind of cold ... the type that necessitates a seat cushion for the metal bleachers, out of concern for massive ass freezeage.
(That the freezing of a large amount of asses ... not, like, the freezing of one massive ass. For clarification's sake.)
Coming up, a tour on the field and around the stadium, and some images of the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames leaving their team bus for their Saturday alumni game. We have a Jim Peplinski sighting!
And here ... we ... go.
A view of the rink and the stadium from the upper deck, including...
This giant, hanging thing over the ice that's filled with speakers, looks really cool but, alas, doesn't really serve a purpose other than window dressing. The NHL told us it won't be used as part of the sound system.
Before the alumni game, fans and family took the ice for a skate-around inside the stadium. Here, a young player falls to the ice untouched, as his father screams, "Anytime you want to stay on your skates, Alexandre Despatie, we're ready."
Here's where the various rights holders will call the action during the Heritage Classic. Sadly, no Mike Milbury here in Calgary to walk between the VS and CBC booths arbitrarily yelling at people.
The rumors are true: Loser tomorrow moves to Hamilton.
They have some mighty powerful heaters for the benches. One of the ice crew guys told me the benches are so warm, you can't sit on them for long. Obviously, a new way for coaches to light a fire under their players.
Outside the stadium, there are strict rules against bringing booze into the building ...
... because it would seriously cut into their beer sales just steps away from that sign above.
As I was walking to the media entrance, the alumni bus pulled up. This is Jamie Macoun bellowing "OLD TIME HOCKEY! EDDIE SHORE!" as he steps off the chariot. There's a chance you may hear this 'Slap Shot' reference, oh, roughly 17,000 times before the end of the weekend.
This is the great Jim Peplinski, inexplicably doing his Brando.