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PITTSBURGH -- Despite heavy protest from NHL ice guru Dan Craig, I was allowed to skate on the outdoor ice at Heinz Field with fellow media members Thursday.
I'm kidding about Craig. I think. But if the ice can sustain this 250-pound frame, I think it bodes well for the rest of the week.
Having also skated on the ice at Wrigley Field two years ago, as well as at Fenway Park last year, one noticeable difference Thursday was the lack of glare as you skated around. That's because it was overcast Thursday, which is the norm here in Pittsburgh. In Chicago and Boston during the media skates two days before the games, it was sunny and, depending where you where on the ice, the glare could make it difficult to see.
The quality of the ice Thursday was as good as I remember from the two previous years. In fact, I clearly remember some chipping in areas at Wrigley two years ago whereas there was very little of that Thursday.
And you can tell from Craig's demeanor the last two days that he's as confident and relaxed as I've seen him at this event. His staff has figured this thing out. Now he just needs Mother Nature to cooperate Saturday and, right now, that's not looking very good with rain still in the forecast.