Come in from the cold

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

The Heritage Classic was something special in hockey history which is not likely to be repeated on such a grand scale.

Good thing, too. The Montreal Canadiens were back in Edmonton yesterday for the first time since facing the Oilers in the outdoor game of Nov. 22, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium.

And they didn't seem particularly eager for a repeat.

"It was something I was really looking forward to doing once but I wouldn't be looking forward to doing it again," said Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore, who had to continually trek to the bench during breaks to heat his gloves.

'COULDN'T FEEL THE PUCK'

"It was good for a couple of minutes but after that it was real cold. I couldn't feel the puck. Every time I got a shot, I didn't feel it so it couldn't hurt."

Head coach Claude Julien took over the responsibility of warming Theodore's gloves as he was nestled in alongside one of the heaters. Julien got so cozy that he shed his sports jacket and braved the elements, wearing just his dress shirt and overcoat.

"At times I had to step aside because I thought I was going to catch fire," laughed Julien.

"We could probably brag that we won the game but more importantly, it was a great experience for everyone involved."

Theodore sparked a fashion trend by wearing an old-time Canadiens tuque over top of his mask to fend off the biting wind.

The tuques not only became a popular souvenir item for the remainder of the season, but Theodore's own headwear went directly from the Montreal locker room to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I didn't think it would have that big of an impact," said Theodore, who made 34 saves in Montreal's 4-3 victory, which came in -28C temperatures. "It was freezing and I thought it looked cool."

SUN-UP TO SUNDOWN

Habs defenceman Craig Rivet said the Heritage Classic took him back to his childhood days in North Bay, Ont., when he would be on the outdoor ice with his friends from sun-up to sundown.

"It was an event that could never be duplicated. For the guys that got to experience it, it was something that we'll cherish and remember for the rest of our lives."

That being said ....

"I had a great time, but I hope I never have to do it again."


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