PITTSBURGH -- As expected, Heinz Field is buzzing with people this morning. There is plenty of commotion going on all around this place. It feels so different than it did the past couple of days.
The rink continues to take shape as the boys are on it right now with hoses. The goal is to paint white later today.
The ice pans for the auxiliary rink have been placed down and connected in the south end zone. Not far away workers are putting together the bleachers that will be used for 1,500 auxiliary seats that the NHL is bringing in for the New Year's Day game.
Spotted Dan Craig for a few moments this morning and he appears in good spirits. His son, Mike, who lives in Kelowna, B.C., arrived late last night. Mike is part of the ice crew and has been working jobs with his dad for years, including the last three Winter Classics and the last three Olympics.
Winter Classic signage is going up around the stadium, both inside and outside.
The blizzard in the New York metropolitan area (my wife and son are stuck inside because of 4-foot snow drifts) left several NHL personnel stranded, but they're starting to make their way here now. I know of one guy who was so fed up with the travel that he decided to rent a car and drive here.
It is much colder today than it has been in previous days here. I just spent nearly an hour outside shooting the Blackberry All-Access Pregame Show with Heidi Androl, and I couldn't feel my fingers by the time we were done. And, yes, I was wearing gloves.
The frigid temps work just fine for Craig and his crew.
I'll be introducing you to the ice crew in a story today. They're a wild and fun bunch.
That's about all for now. I'll be back with further updates later.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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