WASHINGTON -- No matter how many outdoor rinks Dan Craig builds in venues larger than any NHL arena, and he has built quite a lot of them in the past seven years, he still feels the same level of nervous excitement as the days tick off the calendar, drawing event-day closer.
"It's nerves for accomplishment is what it is," Craig, the NHL's senior director of facilities operations, told NHL.com on Monday. "It's a game, and that's one of the things I never lose sight of, and within Hockey Operations, within our world, we never lose sight of it. This is a regular-season game and I want the guys to be able to play this as any regular-season game."
Except, and nobody has to tell this to Craig, it's not any regular-season game: It's the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic outside at Nationals Park on New Year's Day (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).