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Bruins' legends preparing to take 'First Skate'

By James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

"It's just like starting up a race car. You've got to tune it, make sure all the parts and pieces are ready to go, so when it's time, everything functions properly." -- Dan Craig

BOSTON -- On Friday, Boston Bruins legends like Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely and Terry O'Reilly will turn back the clock in an unforgettable sight. Orr and Company, along with  other Bruins alums, will christen the ice at Fenway Park, participating in the "First Skate at Fenway."

With the 2010 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic only 17 days away, the rink is really taking form. The boards have been installed and the glass is almost completely up. According to NHL Facility Operations Manager Dan Craig, the next big step will be the ice-making process.

"We finished laying down the ice pans today and finished the leveling," Craig told NHL.com Tuesday afternoon. "The one sidewall of the boards is absolutely completed and it's being leveled off right now. The radius is all being tied together. By the end of the day, all the boards will be up, all the piping will be hooked up, and then we're going to fill the floor up with our coolant and then be ready to fire up the truck later today."

You can sense the anxiety and excitement in Craig's voice, and looking out at the rink from the press box, the drop of the puck between the Bruins and Flyers on New Year's Day seem so much closer. But work remains to be done and the process can't be rushed.

"We won't be making ice tonight, but what we will be doing is just making sure the machine is ready," Craig said. "It's just like starting up a race car. You've got to tune it, make sure all the parts and pieces are ready to go, so when it's time, everything functions properly."

Craig seems satisfied with the progress and with a nice New England cold front due overnight, he was confident Mother Nature would continue to be on his side, as it has been since arriving here last week.

"We've had two great days on the construction side and now this cold front is coming just at the right time," he said. "It will cool right off here and we'll be making ice. We're in good shape and we got a cold front coming through so the equipment will work, but not very much. Hopefully by tomorrow at noon we'll start spraying down and go through the night and then on Thursday we'll be putting down some (line) markings and be ready for skating on Friday."