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Posted at 6:26 PM ET, 01/ 1/2011

Update on the Winter Classic ice surface

By Katie Carrera

Dan Craig, the NHL's facility operations manager, talked about the Heinz Field ice surface on the NHL Network's pregame show and he said that it looks like the Winter Classic will "be in good shape." Here are excerpts from Craig's interview:

Q: What's the condition of the ice as it stands?

Craig: "As it stands right now, we're toughening it up right now. It tempered out for us pretty well this afternoon. We got a lot of water this afternoon and the guys worked really hard since the rain started and got everything cleaned off right around 11 [a.m.] and the front moved through, and it looks like we'll be in good shape."

Q: What's been the biggest issue that you've had to deal with over the last 72 hours at Heinz Field?

Craig: "It's a mixture. The heat on the surface itself, because we've been dealing with rain all week. And knowing what type of water was going to come at us here first thing this morning. We got the guys out here fairly early last night and they knew they were coming back at the wee hours of the morning to fight Mother Nature."

Q:What are you looking for with the ice surface when you're monitoring it?

Craig: "Well, it's the consistency and how it's solid because it really softened up on us with the amount of water that we had out there and we want to make sure that every area is -- because we play the game and it's 200 feet long, 85 feet wide and every inch counts out there."

Q: How far has the technology come since the inaugural Winter Classic in Buffalo?

Craig: "I monitor on the Blackberry exactly what's happening on the surface. We have five different proves out on the surface and in our header trends so we know exactly what's happening out on that floor at all times."

By Katie Carrera  | January 1, 2011; 6:26 PM ET
Categories:  Winter Classic  
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Next: Winter Classic open thread: Capitals at Penguins


"I monitor on the Blackberry exactly what's happening on the surface. We have five different proves out on the surface and in our header trends so we know exactly what's happening out on that floor at all times."

Translation, please.

Posted by: capsfan77 | January 1, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Katie...what are the lines?

Posted by: former_mr_mom | January 1, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

As long as we've waited for this, now I'm nervous. Please Hockey Gods don't let Crosby get a hat trick or anything! Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 1, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

capsfan, I think "proves" is a typo for "probes". Guessing that "header trends" means "header trench", but I don't know what that would be. Maybe the report was phoned in and this is what resulted.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | January 1, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

My dad came to visit and we watched the last Capitals game together, and he asked me whether I thought Ovie was hurt. We watched him pretty carefully for a while, and at times during stoppages he seemed to be kind of testing his groin, or maybe his hamstring. And he does seem to lack the burst I'm used to seeing.

I am starting to worry. I hope he's not trying to play through something that would get better quicker with rest.

Anyone else noticing this?

Posted by: youaresquishy | January 1, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like reaching for an excuse. I'd lean toward a lack of focus and maybe insufficient prep coming intot he season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 1, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I'd also add that he doesn't seem to have very high hockey IQ which makes it difficult for him to adjust when things aren't working.

That's why I worry about 4 or 5 years down the line when his athleticism really starts to drop off dramatically.

His game is so largely based on physicality and athleticism where as it seems like a lot of the players that remain elite into their 30s think the game really well and are thus able to offset their declining athleticism.

I also worry whether Boudreau is the best coach to get him to learn to play a more complete game. I imagine that there are certain coaches out there that would demand more of him and hold him more accountable for some of his decision-making and encourage him to address certain weaknesses.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 1, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I'd lean toward a lack of focus and maybe insufficient prep coming intot he season.

That's perfectly understandable, I think we'd all lose focus if we had Alyonka Larionov around.

Posted by: joek443 | January 1, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

GO CAPS!! Good luck #4 and mates, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the Pens stick to hockey and don't try to bully us out of the stadium. LET'S DO THIS RIGHT TONIGHT!!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 1, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Pretty scary live shot of the ice on NHL network. More puddle than ice, at least in front of one of the goals.

Posted by: zimbar | January 1, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

If Ovi hung out more with her dad, he'd become a better hockey player... but but that wouldn't be as fun.

Posted by: joek443 | January 1, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is still a beast, I just think it's important that he become a slightly smarter beast.

Even if my guess that his hockey IQ truly isn't all that great, high caliber coaching can still teach anybody to make better decisions and pay more attention to detail and playing a complete game.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 1, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Something's telling me this is going to be Laich's night....don't know why, but I think he's really going to assert himself somehow/someway tonight....GO CAPS, KICK PENS A@@!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 1, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse


I agree that Ovie may want to try to get a little lighter for next season. I think being a tiny bit quicker is more important than his increased size.

It may not have been for a lack of work, it just may be that he focused on getting bigger and stronger and accomplished it with hard work. But an unexpected result is that he lost a slight amount of his quickness.

I wonder if he trains a little bit differently for next year.

However, maybe he decided to build up a lot of size in the offseason because he knows that players will lose some of that size throughout the grind of the season. So he will be in more of perfect playing shape around March and April, instead of being in ideal shape in October which then results in him losing some muscle and not being in ideal shape in April.

I'm not saying he did that, but it is a possibility.

So I think it is too early to make any judgments on Ovie and how he prepared for this season. We have to let the rest of the year play out and then judge the season in its entirety.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 1, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Pens will own the caps - again. Crosby has elevated his game even more this year and o[ver rated]vetchkin has yet to prove he is even in the all star catagory this year.

Posted by: PensRocktheHouse | January 1, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse


Please, tell us more about Cindy Crosby. We're fascinated.


Posted by: SilverSpring8 | January 1, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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