PHILADELPHIA -- After three days of work here at Citizens Bank Park, one major piece of the puzzle for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was put together.
Day 3 of construction saw the arrival and installation of the rink boards, meaning for the first time anyone watching the build-out could see just where the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers will be skating Jan. 2.
"Once that starts going together, it's like doing a jigsaw puzzle," NHL Senior Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig told NHL.com. "You do the borders first, then you do the interior. At least it feels like you're on the way."
In addition to the arrival of the boards, the pipes were laid and the hoses were run that will carry the coolant to the ice trays that will serve as the base for the ice rink.
"The headers on the one side are all hooked up and ready to go," Craig said. "We'll loop around the back side and start hooking it up on the players' bench side. … By 4 p.m. we'll be able to put the first load of the coolant in. Whether we'll get everything topped off tonight, we'll be able to tell in the next four hours. If not, we'll get everything topped up tomorrow (Thursday) and we'll be circulating by noon."
"As long as the weather stays with us, we'll be in pretty good shape. A lot has been done the last two days. We're on schedule as far as the things that are going on the field." -- NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli
Beyond the main rink, progress was made in a number of other areas. The roofs were finished and windows installed on the chalets that will house the studio crews for NBC and CBC; stages were built for on-field entertainment; the TV broadcast platform in shallow center field was laid out; and signage was hung around the stadium, including the rebranding of the home dugout from Phillies to Flyers, while the visiting dugout was covered with a Rangers-themed Winter Classic banner.
"As long as the weather stays with us, we'll be in pretty good shape," NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli told NHL.com. "A lot has been done the last two days. We're on schedule as far as the things that are going on the field."
Renzulli also said approval from the city for the 1,500 temporary seats installed in center field should come Thursday, and other temporary seating put in around the ballpark has been finished.
2012 WINTER CLASSIC
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"Things are going relatively smooth," Renzulli said.
Craig's role overseeing the rink build is proceeding on its own path. He said if all goes well, and Mother Nature cooperates, he hopes to begin spraying water by Thursday night.
"That depends on what Mother Nature gives us," Craig said. "I'm hoping we can spray tomorrow night. If it stays warm, we won't do anything during the day, we'll wait until the night cools things off and we'll do some stuff at night."
Rain fell for a second straight day Wednesday, with temperatures in the 50s most of the day; more rain was expected Wednesday night. Thursday's forecast -- sunny and 57 degrees -- while great for anyone used to rough Northeast winters, doesn't work so well if you're trying to make an outdoor ice rink.
"No sense fighting Mother Nature if you don't have to," Craig said. "Might as well do the work at night and enjoy a nice warm day."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK