The outdoor rink at Heinz Field has been getting finishing touches, the ice has been set and players finally got the chance to take the ice during Friday's practice, and get their families out there as well! Here's what the Penguins were saying about today heading into Saturday's Stadium Series matchup with Philadelphia...
On the 75-degree day and the ice conditions:
Chris Kunitz was pleasantly surprised and not worried for tomorrow's game:
"Most things melt in those conditions. They did a fabulous job with the ice conditions with what they could by only moving it back an hour and a half for practice. They did a good job of keeping it from the sunshine at this point. It gets deteriorated, but that's like any ice. They are going to be out there checking it the more times people get on it and skate. I don't think there should be any worry about what the conditions are going to be. It felt pretty good when we first got on."
Ian Cole was excited to get out there, but definitely broke a sweat from the heat:
"It was really cool. The setting itself is awesome and it was very hot out there. It wasn't the hardest practice and you are still overheating. You feel like you are wearing three sweat suits. It was a lot of fun. Hopefully tomorrow it will be a little cooler."
Ron Hainsey's first practice with his new team definitely wasn't your typical skate:
"It's a little different than the 11 a.m. twirl around, but it was good to get out there and see the sightlines. It is a little bit different. A different depth perception and all of that. It is certainly fun to come in and be a part of this right away."
Justin Schultz had to get used to being outdoors, but was glad to get out there before tomorrow's game:
"It was a little weird at first, just getting used to the sights and everything. Once you got into it, it was like any other ice surface. It was a little warm but it will be good tomorrow night."
The outdoor rink gave Matt Murray some hometown feels:
"I spent a lot of time on the outdoor rinks when I was a kid. It is really cool to get back to your roots. I feel like at kid again. It's a little bit different with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out there. You have some of the best players in the world. It is a really cool thing."
Matt Cullen has gotten a taste of tomorrow's stage and is ready:
"It is really nice to have that practice and get a feel for it and get familiar with the surroundings. It's going to be good. Obviously, with the weather getting a little bit better tomorrow and getting colder, it will be better for the ice surface and make for a good night."
The Penguins on their family skate:
Matt Cullen on having his three boys out there:
"It was a fun experience. We did get to practice and get a feel for that rink. I think for a lot of us, one of the most fun parts is having the kids out there and your family out there. It is such a unique setting and such a cool experience."
Eric Fehr is always happy to have an opportunity for family to experience these big games:
"Winter Classics in general are a great opportunity to spend time with the family and bring them all in and have a game on a big scale. It's really cool and to be able to score in those games is extra special."
Matt Murray was grateful to share the experience with his girlfriend:
"My girlfriend was here with me today. We took her skating last week. It was the first time she had ever been skating. She was awesome today. That was just a little practice run for the family skate. We got a couple good pictures. It is a really cool environment out there. It was cool for her to get to be a part of that and for me to get to share that with her."