The home team didn't win.
That's about all you can say went wrong for the Edmonton Oilers and their general manger, Kevin Lowe, after Saturday's first regular-season National Hockey League outdoor game.
The visiting Montreal Canadiens beat the Oilers in front of a sellout crowd in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, the home of the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos, 4-3 in a game that will forever be remembered as hockey's version of the Ice Bowl.
"It would have been nice to win it too," said Lowe. "But give the guys a couple of days to get over it (the loss) and I think you'll find that they really enjoyed the experience. It was a bit of history out there."
Lowe and members of the Oilers front office came up with the idea of playing outdoors after an All-Star game as they were brainstorming about doing something different to celebrate the franchise's 25th anniversary.
Asked if he would subject his team to something like this again, Montreal general manager Bob Gainey gave an unequivocal "yes."
"There isn't much weight on the con side," Gainey said. "For the 36 hours we've been in Edmonton (and associated with the event) it's been nothing but pros."
Despite the extreme cold, Edmonton alumni coach Glen Sather, currently the coach and general manger of the New York Rangers, went the distance without a hat, ear muffs or a hat. Sather, who coached the Oilers to four of their five Stanley Cup championships said the heated benches were so warm the extra protection wasn't necessary.
"It was quite warm on the bench," he said. "Players said it was no problem staying warn on the bench."
The folks who manufacture the legendary Zamboni ice-flooding machine won't be happy to hear this, but the cold did one of their machines in.
NHL senior vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said that one of the Zamboni's "froze up." The NHL uses two to resurface the ice between periods, but one was more than capable of finishing the job.
The length of the game -- two hours, 29 minutes -- was pretty much average for an NHL game these days. There was some thought that the game could take longer because of the condition of the ice or could be shorter because players would be reluctant to engage in traditional delaying tactics (fights, scrums, arguing with officials and the like), but it was pretty close to a normal game.
"For us as a team, we were out there maybe three hours max," said Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien. "But those fans were out since maybe two in the afternoon, so hats off to them for making this a success."
Gainey said there was never any doubt in his mind that the game would be started and completed.
"Right from the beginning it was always 'game on'," he said. "From the beginning, once the warm-ups were completed, our players knew the conditions were well within what they could expect and compete in. They knew they could play in these conditions and be safe."
"There was only one thing lacking from our perspective and that was we couldn't deliver the win," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. "The ice was bumpier than usual and because of that you had to simplify the game. If you could get the bounces you knew it would be a big part of the hockey game.
"We made some mistakes that we shouldn't have made though and that cost us the game basically. I don't think the temperature played into it. It impacted the quality of the ice which impacted the strategy of the game, but at no point did I think it was going to be canceled.
"From a physical standpoint and a players standpoint, I don't think the weather had an impact on the outcome of the game."