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 25, 2014, 2:44 AM EDT
That game is on Saturday.
Apr 25, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT
Apr 25, 2014, 1:55 AM EDT
Yet this game was close on the score board.
Apr 25, 2014, 1:32 AM EDT
San Jose can’t complete the sweep.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:48 AM EDT
They’ll rest him for Game 5 – unless San Jose comes back.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:16 AM EDT
All Minny in this one, as we said earlier.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
Insert “Did he miss Iginla’s head?” jokes.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT
Timing of the goal couldn’t have been better for San Jose.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
Boston wins it on an odd goal.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
All Minny through two – except on the score board.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT
His haters rejoice on Thursday (at least so far).
Apr 24, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT
Out of his control, however.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:28 PM EDT
L.A. looking to stave off elimination.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT
“No hard feelings.”
Apr 24, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT
More playoff hockey.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
It’s due to flu-like symptoms for Detroit’s normal starter.
Apr 24, 2014, 7:44 PM EDT
This post will be updated if there’s a late swerve.
Apr 24, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT
Whether Henrik Zetterberg can go or not.
Apr 24, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT
He’s glad the former got some playoff reps, though.
Apr 24, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT
He sure looked yippy last night night in Columbus.
- ‘We’re going into the cage,’ says Kings’ coach Sutter about Game 5 0
- Kings stave off elimination, force Game 5 against Sharks 21
- Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2 53
- Bruins scratch out OT win, push Red Wings to brink 42
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at L.A. Kings 0
- WATCH LIVE: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild (Game 4) 5
- Monster of a surprise: Red Wings start Gustavsson over Howard 5
- WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 4) 2
- Bylsma rips Penguins, calls effort level ‘troubling’ 64
- Cooke: I didn’t intend to collide knee-on-knee with Barrie 99
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Wild’s Cooke offered in-person hearing for knee-on-knee collision with Barrie (111)