Blackhawks to say a bittersweet farewell to Joe Louis Arena
There’s a distinct yet indefinable odor to Joe Louis Arena, Detroit’s venerable old barn that is in its last month as the home of the Red Wings. Once it hits your nostrils, it doesn’t ever seem to leave.
“Reminded me of the old [Chicago] Stadium,” Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks will play at the Joe for the last time on Friday, as the Red Wings prepare to move to the new Little Caesars Arena next season. Known for its pristine ice surface, its wonky boards, and its terrific atmosphere, the Joe is the last of the old rinks left in the league, a relic of a bygone era.
And the Hawks will miss it. A bit.
“Some real good memories, some real bad memories,” Quenneville said. “It was always a hard building to play in. The octopus was a regular visitor.”
The modern-day Hawks had two memorable playoff series with the Wings — the educational 2009 conference final in which the Hawks “fell on our face and learned a hard lesson,” in Jonathan Toews’ words; and the unforgettable 2013 second-round series, in which the Hawks rallied form a 3-1 series deficit to win in seven games.
“Obviously a lot of great memories in that building,” Toews said. “The history goes way beyond my time in the league, but it’s cool to play in that building. And you tend to think about it and appreciate it more when you know you’re going to play your last game there.”
Scott Darling, the lone injured Hawks player, skated on his own before Thursday’s morning skate. Quenneville said the three-week timetable hasn’t changed, which would put him on pace for a return around March 24, in time for a three-game road trip to Florida, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.
“First time out there, did well,” Quenneville said. “Good to get his feet wet again.”
Tomas Jurco moved up from the fourth line to the third line, swapping spots with Ryan Hartman. Quenneville said he likes Jurco’s offensive game, and that he’s starting to adjust to the Hawks’ defensive systems.
“I think his last game [in Nashville] was his best game,” Quenneville said. “You like the progress, that’s a good sign.”