The rumour that the NHL would schedule two outdoor games for 2010-11 – one in Canada and one in the United States – appears to have come to fruition. The league is set to announce a game between Washington and Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field, while the Canadian edition will go on February 20 at McMahon Stadium, and feature the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens.
It’s a strange matchup in a lot of ways. Calgary and Montreal have some history (the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals come to mind) but they aren’t natural rivals. They play in different conferences, and Montreal/Toronto or Calgary/Edmonton would seem like more logical rivalries. Mike Cammalleri aside, there really isn’t much in the way of emotion to market here. Given the kind of ratings Toronto generates for Hockey Night in Canada, it’s a little odd not to see them involved as well (although far be it for me to complain that Toronto isn’t getting enough attention).
Still, it’s nice to see the outdoor game coming back to Canada; the Oilers and Canadiens started the trend with the “Heritage Classic” and while it started a bit of a slide for the Oilers it’s a fun spectacle that normally excludes the six teams north of the border.