PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger took a knee for the final play of the football game here tonight. Soon after the Steelers' players were finished tossing their gloves into the crowd and barreling down the steps into the tunnel leading into their cavernous locker room the transition from NFL football stadium to NHL hockey rink began.
As I look out the clear glass windows in the press box right now I can see the goal posts being torn down and a few people surveying the field. They're using a tape measure to outline the dimensions necessary for the stage, which will be constructed overtop the grass field to compensate for the crown.
The rink will be set right on top of that stage. It's necessary to balance out the field so the ice doesn't fall one way or the other.
With a dusting of snow hitting falling on top of them the workers here have been at it for only about an hour now and not only are both goal posts now down (it happened that quickly, in just two paragraphs) but all the Steelers' signage has been ripped off the walls.
It's a blank canvas here and the NHL has the paint brush now.
Work will be done 24/7 here at Heinz Field (and, yes, HBO's '24/7' cameras are here). It's just getting started now.
By the time this blog wakes up, the NHL's refrigeration truck will have arrived (it's expected to enter the dark city right around 2 o'clock in the morning), the floor decking will be laid out and the stage will be under construction.
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.
— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals