With the countdown at less than 50 days, the excitement is contagious as the Mile High City prepares to host the annual NHL Stadium Series on February 27.

The premise of the Stadium Series is simple: Take the game back to its roots, outside and in the cold. Ask any NHL player and they will tell you, with nothing short of excitement, that their hockey careers started in their backyards, on local ponds and local outdoor rinks.

And that is exactly what the NHL started doing in Buffalo in 2008. Every year, the hype surrounding the NHL Winter Classic and the new Stadium Series is electric and infectious as the whole city gets involved. This year the Colorado Avalanche are lucky enough to participate in one of the outdoor games, as they face off against one of their oldest, bloodiest and goriest rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. It will be Landeskog and Duchene vs Zetterberg and Datsyuk battling it out with their respected teams at Coors Field.

But for long-time Avs fans, the real excitement takes place on the 26th, when the legends and alumni of both teams face off. Think Sakic, Roy and Forsberg for the Avs and Chelios, Lidstrom and Shanahan for the Red Wings.

And if you think these players just stumble out of retirement, loosely tie their skates and get a friendly-game of non-check hockey going, you’d be completely wrong. In fact, some have already started practicing for the big event…

Avs head coach, Patrick Roy, stayed behind today after his team was done practicing to suit up in his retired goalie pads and take some shots. It’s been more than a decade since Roy played in his last NHL game, but he still looked like he had it this morning. Let’s hope that as the NHL’s 2nd winningest goalie, he’s still got his game come February 26.