PITTSBURGH -- To get an idea of how good Dan Craig is feeling right now, you had to only listen to him at his media briefing on Monday afternoon.
Nearly all of the questions aimied at him and Don Renzulli at Monday afternoon's press briefing were about the inclement weather expected for New Year's Day, but Craig was a one-man show, cracking jokes and looking for laughs as he attempted to lighten the mood.
The first question he got was about that predicted rain. How does it affect his ice?
"It makes it very slick," Craig cracked.
Nobody was sure if he was serious or joking.
"What, you guys don't like jokes?" Craig added. "It's been a long 55 hours here people. Come on, help me out."
What if it does rain?
"We're going to take off the skates, put on curling shoes and we've got some stones," Craig said. "We'll do this other Canadian game."
Finally, I asked him how his team can be so ahead of schedule knowing they worked over the holiday, so they were slightly short staffed and they had to deal with wind and some snow?
"Smoke and mirrors," Craig said before lauding the crew in a serious fashion. "You never know what Mother Nature is going to do to you and you prepare that somewhere along the line you have to back down for four or five hours. That's built into the schedule, and we did not have to back down in our first 36 hours. We didn't have to back up at all. Everybody just went steady."
He's in a good mood, folks, and that means everyone here is in a good mood because if Dan is sour, you know it ain't lookin' good.
You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.
— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals