Jan 24, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT
This will be a weekend of firsts for hockey. The first matches of the Stadium Series, the first NHL games hosted in Yankee and Dodgers Stadium, and for that matter, the first time the NHL will host regular season outdoor games on back-to-back days.
That’s created a lot of challenges for NHL senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig and senior manager of facilities operations Mike Craig, but with the Los Angeles Kings set to face the Anaheim Ducks and the New Jersey Devils getting ready to take on the New York Rangers, everything should be ready for their contests.
That’s despite some of the last minute headaches they’ve faced in Yankee Stadium. Their task of painting the ice was delayed by a snowstorm on Tuesday that dumped about a foot of snow onto the rink. Facing a hard deadline, the Yankee Stadium crew teamed up with the NHL event staff to clear the rink so that they could resume their work.
“We paint it white, we build up the sheet a little bit, then put our lines and logos,” Mike Craig told NHL.com. “Then we flood it to the point we’re able to skate over the lines and logos. We’ll be doing that for close to 24 hours a day until Saturday morning when we get ready for the first people who step on the ice.” (See more here.)
Snow obviously hasn’t been an obstacle at Dodger Stadium, but trying to host a game in Southern California presents its own set of challenges.
After the snow was cleared in New York City, their work was furthered postponed because the sun starting beating down on the ice Wednesday afternoon. That caused them to shift their efforts to working on the ice itself. If that’s an issue in New York in January, you can imagine the potential for problems in Los Angeles.
Their solution to that was to take the sun out of the equation entirely. At Dodger Stadium they have been shielding the ice in reflective blankets while the sun’s out. Its meant working nights, but the results have been encouraging.
“I was shocked how level (the ice) was and how good a job Dan (Craig) had already done because usually the first time you step on the ice it’s never really good,” said Kings president Luc Robitaille, according to NHL.com, after testing out the ice on Wednesday.
Dan Craig isn’t quite satisfied yet, but the heavy lifting is done. Now it’s about fine-tuning the surface by careful positioning of an ice-making truck. In Los Angeles, the when counts as much as the where though, because in addition to the sun, the humidity has increasingly become an obstacle. (See more here.)
These cities have presented the NHL with two very different sets of challenges and because the games will be happening on Saturday (Ducks-Kings, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and Sunday (Rangers-Devils, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), they’ve been forced to divide the rink-builders crew into two teams for the first time.
In just a couple more days, the fruits of their efforts will be enjoyed by four teams and NHL fans from coast-to-coast.
Apr 19, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT
Columbus has been in the NHL since the 2000-01 season.
Apr 19, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT
More magic from Paul Stastny?
Apr 19, 2014, 8:36 PM EDT
Quite a busy 2:26 of ice time.
Apr 19, 2014, 7:57 PM EDT
“I have to be better.”
Apr 19, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT
The Blues coach mostly pleads the fifth.
Apr 19, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT
His play may wind up costing him a suspension.
Apr 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Pittsburgh carries a 1-0 series lead into Saturday.
Apr 19, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT
Things changed fast late in the third period.
Apr 19, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT
His penalty got things going in the wrong direction for Chicago.
Apr 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Apr 19, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT
Memo to players: wear a cup.
Apr 19, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT
His goal is the difference in the game through two.
Apr 19, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
He’s been out since March 29 with a knee injury.
Apr 19, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
He’s missed three games with an upper-body injury.
Apr 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
The Blackhawks look to head home with a split.
Apr 19, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
He’s aiming to return for Game 3 on Tuesday.
Apr 19, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
He avoided a suspension for the act.
Apr 19, 2014, 1:29 PM EDT
He’s been out since April 3.
Apr 19, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT
A fine may be in his future.
Apr 19, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT
He missed Game 2 with an injury.
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- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; Blues tie it up in waning moments 91
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2) 4
- Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again 47
- Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser 76
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 7
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind 115
- Detroit stuns favored Bruins with late goal to take Game 1 63