Game 82 – New Jersey @ Detroit – The End

Well, this was it. The last game at the Joe.

And what a game it was.

The Good

Tatar scored another great goal for his 25th of the season. Confident Tatar is the best Tatar

Then, in his 1000th career game, Henrik Zetterberg caps probably his best season since the Conn Smyth with another goal and his 68th point. O Captain my Captain indeed.

Now…what am I missing.

Something happened. Something miraculous.

Riley Sheahan has scored not just one, but two goals in this hockey game.

They were beautiful goals.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this would have been one of the prettiest goals scored by a Red Wing all season, but couple that with the fact that it’s scored by Riley Sheahan who has been completely snakebit all season and you have what is, in my book, top goal of the season. Riley Sheahan got a lot of flack this season, and a lot of pity, and in the end it was just nice to see him walk in front of the net and snipe it. Not just a rebound, but a goal. Look at his face. There is no doubt that Riley Sheahan almost cried during that game.

Then he scored another, to grab the final goal scored at Joe Louis Arena.

 

Congratulations Sheahan. Gordie knows you’ve earned it.

The Bad

I won’t besmirch this game by talking about the few defensive lapses that caused two goals against (though Hall’s was waived off, rightfully so for a kicked in puck). It’s fine.

The WTF?

Not a what the fuck, more of an oh my god. As in, oh my god, we’re really done with the Joe.

It seems so crazy to be emotional about saying goodbye to a building. I mean a building is just floors and walls and rafters, concrete and steel. People have even expressed opinions about it’s being not a particularly nice building: it’s cramped and blocky and the stairs try to kill you and there’s no windows. There’s a weird smell and you have to piss in a trough. I get the complaints.

But this building means something to the fans that can’t be represented by the physical of the building. It’s where Hockeytown was born. The “Dead Wings” became the Red Wings again, putting together 25 years of continued excellence and streams of some of the best players in the league for years on end. How many young fans saw their first hockey game here? I know I did. People weren’t even writing blog posts about hockey games when the streak started.

The point is, the Joe is the birthplace of hockey fandom for many many many fans. It’s where the Red Wings won 4 Stanley Cups. It’s where we got to see Yzerman, Lidstrom, McCarty, Draper, Shanahan, Chelios, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Osgood, Hull, Hasek, Vernon. I’ve left off probably dozens of other legends of Detroit that have played here since the Joe opened.

So it’s more than a building. It’s a home. The home of an idea. The idea of the Detroit Red Wings, and the idea of Hockeytown.

Farewell Joe Louis Arena.

We won’t forget you.

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