Over the last two weeks, as the NHL crew has set up the ice rink on the field at Citizens Bank Park, the elements haven't really been much of an issue. It's been unseasonably warm and sunny for a bit of that time, but outside of one night of rain this past Tuesday and a ridiculous day of wind on Wednesday, the weather has been cooperative in Philadelphia.
But that just goes to show you how a wrench can be thrown into things so quickly. Dan Craig, the NHL's ice guru, spoke to the media today from the ballpark, telling NHL.com that things as simple as a sunny day have changed around the plans.
"They said partly cloudy, and I don't see partly cloudy at all," Craig told NHL.com at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. "It just comes down to getting it done one way or the other. One day we get cloud cover and three-quarters of an inch of rain. The next day we're supposed to be building and we get 40 mile-per-hour winds. And then the next day we're supposed to be doing logos and lines and we got bright sunshine."
Those logos and lines on the ice will be done by Friday morning, even if it takes crews showing up early in the morning to get the work in. The ice has to be set properly as well by about 11 a.m. ET.
At noon on Friday, the media will have the opportunity to skate on the ice, and while that's super awesome for people like me, it's actually an important step in the process, as it's the first time that a large number of people will put wear on the surface.
For Craig, getting the ice as good as it can be come Saturday afternoon, when the Alumni Game is set for a 1 p.m. puck drop in front of a sell out crowd and a national TV audience, is the real key. Hopefully the elements cooperate on Friday morning.
For more on this year's game, head over to SB Nation's Rangers blog, Blueshirt Banter, and Flyers blog, Broad Street Hockey. For everything Winter Classic in the build-up to the game, head over to our NHL Winter Classic StoryStream.