There was something different about last night's Heritage Classic. Something we haven't seen in these outdoor games just yet. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the game was in Canada, but it seemed like the crowd at McMahon Stadium was there to enjoy a hockey game first, an NHL spectacle second.
Then again, that might have something to do with the fact this game was played just a week before the NHL's trading deadline in February, not on New Year's Day when the postseason seems miles away.
Last night's game in Calgary was important because it represented two points in the standings, and after getting over the whole "they're playing outside!" thing, that was the overwhelming take away. The Montreal Canadiens played too cute for the difficult outdoor conditions, and the Calgary Flames continued their recent dominance.
Rene Bourque paced the Flames with two goals, and Miikka Kiprusoff was brilliant in pitching the first shutout in outdoor NHL history. 41,022 fans packed into the stadium to watch the win, and while it was a fantastic spectacle and all that good stuff, the most important thing is that the Flames have climbed all the way to sixth in the West.