PITTSBURGH -- They're making ice here at Heinz Field.
Just after 7 o'clock Saturday night Dan Craig grabbed the front end of one of the two long hoses, walked to the far end of his rink and started spraying water. Craig looked like the happiest guy in hockey.
"This right here is one of the best feelings in hockey next to scoring a goal," Craig told NHL.com as he sprayed.
Craig went up and down, covering the entire rink with water one time before the crew broke for dinner. They'll be at it all night tonight and all day Sunday building the inch and a half of ice necessary before they can paint white and start putting in all the logos, lines and markings.
"For the first spray it definitely is (looking good)," Craig said. "Mother Nature will help us go from here. A nice cool night, no stopping."
Craig was hoping to have the hoses on by 5 or 6 o'clock, but he was delayed because the hoses were frozen. They had been sitting in the truck for four days after arriving here from Toronto, so they had to thaw out before the water could run through them.
That was a simple process that included Craig and some of his crewmen folding parts of the hose to crack some of the ice inside. It didn't take them long and Craig, in fantastic spirits, was joking about how it was a good workout for him and this is why he doesn't have a gym membership.
HBO's cameras were on the rink documenting the first spray on Christmas night and Craig made sure they got a great shot, spraying the hose right in front of their camera lens. His crew started cracking jokes that it was his "Hollywood moment."
Craig played right along.
"Where is my stage manager," he yelled.
He was having a blast before going in for a delicious Christmas night dinner presented by the Heinz Field catering department.
Life is good here in Pittsburgh right now.
"This is the hard part for me," Craig said. "I can stay out there all night. I love this."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic