Talk of new arena has Wings nostalgic about The Joe

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The new place will be nice, but Red Wings players will miss Joe Louis Arena.

On the day ground will be broken on a new $650 million arena development project in downtown Detroit, Red Wings players can't wait for the arena to open in 2017.

"We look forward to it," said captain Henrik Zetterberg, noting how the project will connect to everything that is in place currently. "It's pretty cool. The arena itself will be amazing, just everything surrounding it. Obviously we'll be excited to go.

"But at the same time, we'll miss this place."

Joe Louis Arena doesn't have the amenities newer arenas have. But it's a hockey only facility that has seen a tremendous amount of success from the Red Wings over the years.

"For us players, you just go out there and look up in the rafters and see all the history you have in here," Zetterberg said. "It's basically the only hockey, hockey arena we have left. Most of the new buildings, they're built for more than just hockey. This one basically, it's a hockey arena and when you come in here, you feel it and smell it.

"It's a special place."

Even opponents seem to enjoy playing at The Joe.

"Most player that you talk to, they love playing in here," goalie Jimmy Howard said "Just the history and nostalgia of the building. It'll be tough when the day happens when we move out of here.

"But from what I hear and read, the new place will be second to none."

Datsyuk update

Pavel Datsyuk (separated shoulder) is hopeful he can return a bit sooner than the original diagnosis of a month.

"We'll see how it goes, maybe it's not that (bad)," said Datsyuk, who'll continue to skate.

Datsyuk said the shoulder felt "much better" Thursday.

Coach Mike Babcock is hopeful of seeing Datsyuk right around the Oct. 9 season opener, too.

"Pavel is a fast healer," Babcock said. "Let's get him ready to go. Pavel is real committed, he's digging in on his training. He's working like a dog. He'll be just fine."

Ice chips

Darren Helm (broken nose) and Ryan Sproul (shoulder strain) are both day-to-day.

… Both the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will have youthful lineups tonight at Joe Louis Arena for their exhibition game.

Defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, forwards Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson, Daniel Cleary, Riley Sheahan and Justin Abdelkader, with Howard in net, are the veterans in the Red Wings lineup.