PHILADELPHIA -- Dan Craig confirmed the obvious late Tuesday afternoon.
"It's wet," he said rather, well, dryly, while standing at the Zamboni entrance of the rain-soaked rink at Citizens Bank Park.
Craig is accurate. It is quite wet here right now, but the rain that has fallen so far this afternoon has been the good kind for Craig, the NHL's ice guru, and his crew. It's not all that heavy, and he's been able to freeze it by making some adjustments in his refrigeration truck parked outside the ballpark.
"We're almost keeping up with it," Craig said optimistically.
Craig used the word "indifferent" to describe his attitude toward the rain.
"We have to deal with it and we are," he said.
He said he expects the rain to get heavier after 5 p.m., but the weather reports he's been looking at are suggesting the weather system will move out of the area by 9 p.m. tonight or shortly after. Craig originally thought the heavy rain would last until midnight.
"If we're almost keeping up with it now and we'll only get four hours or so of heavy stuff, then we should be fine," Craig, the NHL Senior Facilities Operations Manager, said.
Craig, who doesn't appear to be leaving the ballpark any time soon, said he'll be here at 6 a.m. Wednesday with four members of his crew. They'll start work on some ice maintenance, taking out the hoses and spraying hot water onto the ice to level it out. Once that freezes and the ice is smooth, they'll bring out the white paint and go to work making an ice sheet that looks like a hockey rink.
If the crew starts painting by 9 a.m. Wednesday, they'll be right on Craig's new schedule. He was supposed to have it painted and all sealed up by 9 p.m. Tuesday, but of course Mother Nature did not allow for that.