Buried inside Little Caesars Arena is an extra sheet of ice for the players to use when the main rink is being used
Detroit — Dylan Larkin was talking to the media after Tuesday’s morning skate about how everyone is still getting used to Little Caesars Arena.
How it’s nothing like Joe Louis Arena, and it’s still taking a little getting used to.
Then, the fire alarm went on around the arena for testing.
“There you go,” said Larkin, noting some of the final touches and testing in the new palace, which the Red Wings christened in a way Tuesday with an official workout before they flew to Boston for a preseason game.
With the Kid Rock concert going on the main arena later in the day, the Red Wings skated in their practice rink.
And, it is nice.
Just mere steps from the luxurious locker room, having the practice rink connected means no more dress-and-drives to Grosse Pointe, Taylor or any other public rinks.
“It’s pretty cool to have the rink right here, connected to the locker room,” Larkin said. “Just being around here, everything here is pretty cool. It’s a pretty special place for sure. There are still some things being finished up, but it’s amazing.
“We’re pretty lucky to have this.”
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill talks about his team getting on the ice at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
The practice rink will be used by the Red Wings and the entire Little Caesars youth hockey program, and will host tournaments.
There’s seating for fans, a concession area, and workout facilities for the youth teams.
For the Red Wings, the convenience of being near their own lockers, and near the rest of their own meeting rooms and workout areas was a nice plus.
“It’s awesome, it was a huge thing that the Ilitch family made sure of, to have the practice rink right here,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Just to eliminate so much wear and tear, especially with a building like this, it’ll be booked constantly where it’s the Pistons or shows or things like that.
“Getting on the ice (Tuesday) was exciting. Just to be here, working through moving into our room. We have to get comfortable in our space. It’s great to be in the building.”
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill discusses practicing at Little Caesars Arena. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
The Red Wings skated a lineup primarily made up of minor leaguers and draft picks for their exhibition game Tuesday night in Boston.
Larkin and forwards Anthony Mantha, Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan and Tyler Bertuzzi, defenseman Nick Jensen and goaltender Petr Mrazek, were the lone veterans.
Most, along with Blashill, admitted they’re still having difficulty finding their way around the new arena.
“Everything is so big here,” Mrazek said. “It’s an awesome arena. The practice rink is amazing. We had chances to get a couple of practices before camp, so we saw the dressing room and the different stuff. It’s pretty cool.”
Said Larkin: “You have to learn how to navigate around this place. We have a big locker room. It’s hard to find people. It’s good we’re here in the preseason and we have this time.”
The persistent fire alarm testing forced Blashill’s daily media scrum with reporters to take place outdoors in a small drizzle.
Blashill said it was the first time he’d ever done a press conference in the rain.
“It doesn’t matter when you’re in this type of building,” Blashill said.