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The Winter Classic

Capitals vs. Penguins, Jan. 1, 8 p.m., NBC

Turf to ice

The NHL and its ice guru, Dan Craig, turned the Pittsburgh Steelers' home turf into a Winter Classic-worthy hockey venue in just over six days.

1. December 23

11 p.m. or so: The Steelers beat the Panthers at Heinz Field.

Midnight: BaAm Productions, a Toronto company contracted by the NHL, began installing plank "roads" onto the field for equipment trucks and Zambonis. They also installed a platform on top of the crowned field so the ice will be level.

2. December 24

Early: The NHL's custom-made refrigeration truck settled into its spot outside Heinz Field, 350 feet from the rink.

Late: 30-foot-long specialized, refrigerated floor panels were arranged on the platform and connected to coolant lines that run to the truck. The truck will circulate 3,300 gallons of glycol refrigerant through the panels and back again.

3. December 25

Thirty-seven hours after the last play of the football game, Craig turned on the hoses. He makes ice by mimicking a light rain, misting layer upon layer over the cooling panels. The ideal temperature for hockey ice is 22 degrees.

4. December 26

Ice making continued, resulting in half an inch of ice.

SOURCES: NHL, National Weather Service, Pittsburgh Business Times, staff photos
GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz, Patterson Clark and Chris Rukan / The Washington Post - Dec. 30, 2010.

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