Ice Prep At Wrigley Still Having Troubles

'Ice guru' admits weather caused issues

'Ice guru' admits weather causing issues

Over the weekend, warm weather hit Chicago like a breath of fresh air, or at least a breath of air that doesn't make your lungs sting with freezing pain. And while it was nice (if a bit rainy), it also put a big hitch in the preparation for the Winter Classic at Wrigley. The anticipation for the Classic has now reached an apex; it would have been awfully disappointing if the rumors of a postponement ended up true.

It looks like the Winter Classic will make its New Year's Day deadline after all, but the NHL's ice engineer, Dan Craig, admitted that the weather has presented serious problems:

''In 12 days here, I've had everything,'' Craig said Monday. ''There were temperatures of minus-5 degrees and 58 degrees. There was pouring rain. We had 6 inches of snow on the ice. We've run the gamut on this one. Mother Nature has tested us as well as she could, and we're still standing.' Because the equipment has worked so well, a Los Angeles writer asked whether the Winter Classic could be played in California. ''Are you challenging me?'' Craig said. ''I'll never say never. Once we get this equipment up and running, we can do it -- but we'd have to put a canopy on top of the ice.''

Ah, an ice master with a sense of humor. What more can you ask for?

In any case, things are looking up: The rink seems in good shape, the weather has sunk back to typical -- if not frigid -- Chicago depths, and everyone is all bangwagon-jumpy about the Blackhawks. Looks like this thing is happening after all. We can't wait.

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