DETROIT — “Awesome” was the word most used by the Rangers upon their first look at Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Red Wings. About half of the Rangers took the morning skate Friday, but the whole team was there for meetings, just to get a feel for the place.
“We did this last year when we went into Edmonton. It was a new building, first time,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I’m not a big morning-skate person, I don’t really believe in them, but I felt that today because of the new rink, I thought it would be good for guys to come down, see the surroundings.”
It was the fourth building the Rangers have visited to play the Detroit franchise, following the Border City Arena in Windsor, Ontario (1926-27), the Olympia (1927-1979) and Joe Louis Arena (1979-2017).
“They did a beautiful job. It’s filled with color, like the Joe was. It’s awesome,” Rick Nash said.
Boo Nieves, who played for the University of Michigan, said, “The Joe had a lot of character to it. It was a cool rink, it was a storied rink. But I think it’s cool to see a modernized place, a modernized locker room. Detroit has always been a city that has been growing and trying to give itself some more life. I think it’s awesome to have this building to support the Red Wings and the Pistons.”
Rangers players were impressed with their spacious locker room. They didn’t even see some of the classy touches in the home team’s room, such as stalls left open in honor of greats such as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio.
No update on Kreider
The Rangers had no medical update on Chris Kreider, who is out indefinitely with a blood clot. Vigneault said he was waiting to get a return text. The coach tried calling, but Kreider’s voice mailbox was full. “I think,” Vigneault said, “a lot of people were trying to get in touch with him.”