The Joe has seen a lot in its 38 years of operation. It ushered the Red Wings from the “Dead Wings” into a power-house franchise which saw six trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, with four of those bringing the best trophy in all of sports to Detroit. While it’s seen a lot over the years, the current state of the Red Wings means the building will go out with a whimper, rather than the bang it started with (this video captures the crowd reaction a bit better, go to 1:29 to see the intro RIP #9).
All good things must come to an end, and it appears that 25-year playoff streak the Red Wings have been on has run it’s course. I wouldn’t put it past them to go on a run and sneak in though. I think it’s a bit poetic though if it does end in the last year of the Joe. Then the team can really start fresh in the new building next season.
One good thing will be all those NHL ‘experts’ who’ve been predicting the end of the streak for about the last decade. Most of those being north of the border. If you ever want to see a Canadian turn into their version of a redneck, bring up hockey. They go from “friendly Canadian” to the “love it or leave it” type real quick.
However, to us Michiganders the Joe is much more than the place the Red Wings play. Its the place for concerts, it’s the place the WWF/E has preferred over newer buildings in the city, and of course the yearly Great Lakes Invitational. It’s become an icon for the city despite it’s rather generic look, and due to it’s prime location on the Detroit River.
The next time I go with my brother to a Red Wings game will be a little bitter sweet. It was always nice to head down to the riverfront, the walk from the parking garages, talking with other fans, listening to the chants. I’m sure that new building will be amazing, a modern work of art. But I’m still going to miss that musty old smell as I pass the Gordie Howe statue.