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Winter Classic rink update

It started with a giant, refrigerated truck that dropped off the hockey rink two weeks ago. Today, we’ve got hundreds of NHL staff, workers and media milling about the ballpark, as the finishing touches are put on sports’ greatest venue.

Check out the NHL’s great time-lapse video of the last two weeks of construction:

http://www.nhl.tv/team/embed.jsp?catid=2&id=28468

I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of this work in progress and see the buzz grow from the moment the single, refrigerated truck pulled up to the outfield gates. And there are some fun changes you will see on game day:

? There are frames for the free-standing jumbotrons in front of the left- and rightfield foul poles.

? The historic Wrigley Field scoreboard has been adjusted to display period-by-period scores for all of the NHL’s out-of-town games. Because the manual scoreboard doesn’t have the capability to display a running game clock, an auxiliary board has been constructed in centerfield.

? The faux brick wrapping around the outside of the boards looks great–vintage Wrigley.

? I expected the upper deck seats to be great for watching hockey and all the lower deck ones to be too far and low of an angle for a great view, but I am impressed with how well the hockey rink fits the seating arrangement. Even a couple hundred feet away in the bleachers, people will be able to see the action on three-quarters of the ice.

? All of the commemorative flags and player banners have been removed from the roof and concourses. They have been replaced by NHL teams and players.

Mike Huang, Steve Green and I will be covering the game over the next couple days, so stick with us for photos, quotes, exclusive info and reactions. Tell us in the comments if you plan on attending or watching the game on TV!

– Sean Ahmed

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