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Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 7:18 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Sochi Travel blog

Olympic Park tour part of grand day of sightseeing

SOCHI -- Good afternoon from the 2014 Summer Olympics!

I kid, but the weather continues to be paradise-esque in Sochi. We read about lots of dreary, rainy weather in the days leading up to the start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but to this point it has been a lot of sunshine and temperatures that feel more like May than February.

On Wednesday, I had some time before the hockey games started to explore the Olympic Park. It was a great morning/afternoon to embrace the Olympic spirit, something I've probably been cynical about in the past but have experienced here. (This is the first Olympics that I’ve been to.)

The big takeaway from yesterday is the Olympic Park is massive, significantly bigger than we thought after just walking between the Main Press Center and the two hockey arenas for the first couple days. All of the venues are laid out in a big circle, but that is actually only about half of the park.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:28 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stars forward Benn played way onto Canada roster

NEW YORK -- When the roster for Canada Olympic orientation camp was announced before the 2013-14 NHL season, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn found out where he was in his country's pecking order. There were 25 forwards invited to the camp in Calgary, and Benn was not one of them.

When the roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics was announced Tuesday in Toronto, Benn found out how far he's come. There were 14 forwards named to the team tasked with defending the gold medal, and Benn was among them.

"It was a little bit of disappointment. I felt like I deserved at least to get an invite, but Team Canada is not an easy team to make," Benn said of not getting a camp invite. "There was a lot of great players who got invited to that camp. It was a tough decision for Hockey Canada to make and it just gave me a little more motivation for this year."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:06 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Detroit's Glendening shoots for outdoor doubleheader

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The New York Rangers will play two outdoor hockey games in four days next month, but Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening has a chance to do something no North American professional hockey player has ever done.

Glendening played Monday night for the defending American Hockey League champion Grand Rapids Griffins at Comerica Park against the Toronto Marlies as part of the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival. He was officially recalled Tuesday by the Red Wings, and he is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday when Detroit faces the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET: NBC, CBC, RDS).


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 4:50 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Red Wings hopeful Alfredsson will be a go

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Daniel Alfredsson skated with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at Michigan Stadium, one day after missing a game with back spasms and one day before the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Alfredsson joined his teammates on the ice for the an early afternoon workout, but left the stadium without speaking to reporters.

"I'm sure he'll wake up tomorrow morning and make a decision," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. "He's got some spasms. It is nothing significant. Hopefully he feels better tomorrow and he's ready to go.

"We're hoping he's going to play."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Red Wings' Miller sees irony in locker room placement

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Drew Miller spent three years as a player at Michigan State University. His brother, Ryan, was also a Spartan and one of the school’s two Hobey Baker Award winners.

Miller and fellow Michigan State alum Justin Abdelkader are in an interesting position this week as their Detroit Red Wings prepare for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday at Michigan Stadium against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He was in a really interesting position Tuesday when the Red Wings practiced at the Big House. Detroit is using the Michigan football locker room, and Miller is using one of the lockers that honors some of the great Wolverines players in program history.

"It is one of the legends ones or whatever, Desmond Howard," Miller said. "I guess it was just by chance of how the numbers went in order around the room. We were on the Fathers' Trip when I got a text from one of the equipment guys who stayed back here and he showed me a picture of it on the text.

"I said, 'Burn the stall and put me in a folding chair.' I'm just joking. It is a situation where you put all that rivalry stuff aside and make the most of it. It is such an unique situation. You put all that other stuff aside."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 11:44 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Ice crew handles fresh snow, prepares for even more

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a couple of days with balmy temperatures and then one a little cooler, it was definitely colder and windier Tuesday morning at Michigan Stadium as NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig's crew continued to put the final touches on the ice for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

There was also a fresh coat of snow through the night leading into Tuesday morning, but Craig said that wasn't an issue.

"No, we've dealt with snow before," Craig said. "It just took like a four-degree drop between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. That's what threw us a little. We had the heaters set on a certain stage and we needed a little more juice the first thing this morning. Other than that, we're pretty good right now."

The weather forecast for the game Wednesday between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs has changed in the past 24 hours or so. It's possible more snow will fall than originally expected. It is not expected to be as windy Wednesday as it was Tuesday morning.


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Posted On Saturday, 12.28.2013 / 10:12 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Ice crew overcomes weather to get lines, logos down

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The sun began its ascent in the blue Michigan sky Saturday morning, but NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his team were ready.

Half of Craig's crew, led by his son Mike, put all of the lines and logos on the ice Friday night into Saturday morning at Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic. The other half relieved them and went to work just after 4 a.m. at making more ice on top.

The objective was simple: Build as much ice on top as possible before the sun's rays reached the rink, and then cover the surface with tarps to preserve it.

"Everything was painted and sealed and ready to go," Craig said. "We split the crew and made sure everyone got food and got warm before their overnight shift. They were ready to put the markings in around 8 [p.m.] and I think the first lines started going down at about 8:30. I texted Mike at 1:20 [a.m.] just wanting to know the status and he said they were in good shape. The last logo went in at about 2:30 a.m.

"We're in good shape there. We just have to make sure we have enough [tarps] for the auxiliary rink as well as the big one. The sun is going to come down on the penalty box side first and then in the afternoon it will the other side. We'll make sure that side gets tarps first along the boards. We reversed the flow on the pipes on the floor last night to make sure that side is the colder side when the sun came out this morning."


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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 3:11 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Unexpected sun causes brief delay in painting ice

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew of rink builders were all set to paint the ice white at Michigan Stadium on Friday morning. Then the elements got in the way.

Specifically, the sun came out from behind the clouds and what was expected to be a balmy, gray day on the University of Michigan campus became a pleasant, sunny winter one instead. While that might have great for the residents of this college town, it delayed Craig's crew by a few hours.

"We cleaned the ice, burned it a couple of times, put in our stabilizing fabric that we do in front of the machine and the goal creases, and then the sun popped out," Craig said. "We'd be painted by now if the sun hadn't come out, but I'm not going to fight Mother Nature. We're just going to wait for it to go down and then be ready to paint when that happens."

After the cleaning the ice Friday morning, Craig's crew used hot water to "burn" off the leftover frost and humidity build-up that wasn't scraped off with the shovels. A huge part of Craig's job is calling audibles based on the elements, and Friday morning was a good example of that.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 8:51 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winter Classic rink-building crew gets Christmas break

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Because of the amount of extra time afforded to NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his cast of rink builders with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic taking place at Michigan Stadium, he was able to give his entire crew holiday leave.

Craig gave his entire 11-man crew either two or three days off to go home and spend time with their families.

"It lets them recharge the batteries," Craig said. "The funny part about our crew is, yes they all want to be home with family, but at the same time, because we did [the 2011 NHL Winter Classic in] Pittsburgh, where nobody went home for Christmas, and [the 2012 NHL Winter Classic] in Philadelphia, we had an issue and I had to keep four guys behind, they know it is what it is."


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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Work resumes on Michigan Stadium ice rink

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The crew responsible for building an ice rink inside Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic is back in business after a short holiday reprieve.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his staff were back at the Big House on Thursday morning and back at work on the rink inside the stadium by the early afternoon after a couple of days of leave for everyone to enjoy Christmas with their families.

Craig's crew first had to clean a few of inches of snow off the ice surface that has fallen here since they stopped working. The snow will be stored and used in the areas of the field around the rink on game day.

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Quote of the Day

You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense