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Craig pleased with condition of ice at Fenway

Wednesday, 12.30.2009 / 12:38 PM / 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Flyers v. Bruins

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- His voice has recovered and his spirits are good. Dan Craig seemed nearly giddy Wednesday morning as he stood at the Zamboni entrance to the ice at Fenway Park.

The sun was shining and the wind wasn't whipping too badly inside Fenway. Craig, who was losing his voice Tuesday, was getting ready for the afternoon's media skate, the first post-Christmas event on his ice before the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day (1 p.m. ET NBC, CBC, RDS).

"We're in better shape than we were at this time last year," Craig told NHL.com.

The ice at Wrigley Field last year was in decent shape during the media skate, but it was brittle in areas and Craig, though not worried, did know he had a lot of work still left to do before the Blackhawks and Red Wings skated on it.

Wednesday, though, the ice appeared to be in great shape as several members of the attending media arrived at the ballpark with their skates in toe. The Bruins and Flyers won't take to the ice until Thursday.

Craig was looking forward to the media skate, but only for the fun of it. It does not provide him with a great analysis of where his ice stands 48 hours before the game.

"It's more the reaction time on the machines, the temperature outside, how we're setting up and what the truck is doing," Craig said. "You know as well as I do that we have a lot of great media people, but they don't skate well. They can critique the game very, very well but they don't skate well. So, it's one of those things that you watch it and read and react on the resurface itself."

On Tuesday, Craig said he was monitoring the weather forecast for the next 48 hours. But he condensed his window Wednesday, saying he's only worried about the next 12 hours, which at the time we spoke to him would take him into late Wednesday night.

The forecast looks good, but now we're hearing rain and 40 degrees for Thursday. The temperature is supposed to drop about 10 degrees on New Year's Eve, but the rain could continue.

By New Year's Day, however, any precipitation should be either light or gone all together.

If it does rain Thursday and especially Thursday night into Friday morning, Craig said his crew will just have to adjust accordingly. They will either be on call or stationed at the stadium.

"It's monitoring the situation and making sure everything is being taken care of," he said. "You can't really go out there and do anything, so it's more making sure everything doesn't get out of control. You have to deal with it whenever it arrives. You just have to deal with it."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com