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Preparations for Stadium Series game are on schedule

by Eric Gilmore

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Don Renzulli, the NHL's executive vice president of events, got a pleasant surprise when he headed to work at Levi's Stadium on Tuesday.

The skies were overcast and the temperature was cool enough to need a jacket during the day for the first time since preparations began in earnest eight days ago for the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

"This is perfect weather for a hockey game; overcast," Renzulli said.

And not bad weather for making ice at the home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

Workmen continued walking up and down the rink, spraying water from an eight-foot wide wand and thickening the sheet of ice for Saturday night's game (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2).

"Ice is coming along," Renzulli said. "We're going to paint ice tonight. We'll paint the white and we'll start doing logos later on tonight. So [the ice is] probably at an inch thick already. Get the logos, everything laid in, another three-quarters to an inch and we're pretty much set on that."

The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies Wednesday. The forecast for game day is for mostly sunny skies with a high of 71, a low of 44 and zero chance of rain.

The benches for the Kings and Sharks are in, the boards are all in place, and the glass is up at both ends but not on the sides.

"They want to get the air flow now," Renzulli said, "especially to get the paint dried and sealed."

Renzulli said he expects someone on skates to test the ice by late Wednesday or early Thursday. The Kings and Sharks will practice at Levi's Stadium on Friday.

There's plenty of work left to do to prepare the stadium before the puck drops Saturday, especially in the area surrounding the rink. The final touches on the "decor" won't happen until after the Sharks and Kings finish their practices.

"We can't finish a lot of things until after we get through practice, to finish up and tighten up the field, just because there's not a lot of room left around the rink at that point and we'll have a lot of people down around there," Renzulli said. "So we want to try to keep it looking good for event day."

But Renzulli said the work is right on schedule, in large part because they haven't had to deal with rain or snow, a problem the NHL has often faced preparing for previous outdoor games.

"The weather's been great for us to work in," Renzulli said.

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