Detroit — Jeff Blashill said he noticed what Scotty Bowman and Mike Babcock observed about coaching in Joe Louis Arena.
The concentration of fans — and Red Wings’ fans, in particular, given the intensity — close to the ice.
It always has been an advantage for the home club.
“The atmosphere here, when it gets going, certainly for the playoffs, but really the last few games, has been a playoff type atmosphere — it’s second to none,” Blashill said.
“It’s an incredible experience to be part of.”
Bowman said he believes it made opponents think “there was no room,” in part because no concourse or encircling rows of suites interrupt a solid block of seats, extending from the ice to the ceiling.
“I liked that,” he said, in an interview at the start of this season.
Babcock felt much the same about the feeling of discomfort for visiting clubs.
“It’s like they’re right on top of you,” he said.
Red Wings players often say emotions can take flight, with the fans so close, engaged and knowledgeable.
“They lift you up,” is how Pavel Datsyuk described it.
“I heard someone say, when you look out at Joe Louis it’s like a wall or sea of people,” Blashill said. “I never really thought about it.
“I knew the suites weren’t anywhere except at the very top of the building. But it does make it so it’s a wall of people.
“I know looking out at the rink is incredible,” he said of the view from behind the bench.
Bowman also said there was something else he particularly liked about Joe Louis Arena. He enjoyed when the fans gave the referees a hard time about bad calls.
“Then, I figured I didn’t have to,” he said.
Kudos to the U.S. women
Blashill congratulated the United States National Women’s Team for defending its world championship in Plymouth, Friday, in the International Ice Hockey Federation tournament.
There might have been a touch of American bravado. He looked out a significantly larger group of media attending the morning skate, as is always the case with the Canadiens in town — even more so with the arena closing.
The group before which he lauded the Amerians was, in fact, largely Canadian.
“I just want to congratulate the U.S. women’s world championship team,” he said, as the questions stopped. “They won last night, and that was a real experience there.”
Blashill attended both games between the United States and Canada at the Women’s World Championships in Plymouth.
Anthony Mantha, out of the Red Wings’ lineup with a broken finger, also saw some of the games.
Blashill will be among the NHL coaches born in the United States who become available early this season, in time for the 2017 International Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France, May 5-21.
The tournament is considered good experience for NHL coaches, in part, because it exposes them to players from a number of teams around the league.
“I thought the hockey was great,” Blashill said, of the women’s tournament. “I thought the atmosphere was unreal.
“Always good when the U.S. comes out ahead.”
Blashill said he was impressed with the shooting of Hilary Knight, one of the best women’s players in the world who scored the championship winning goal and plays for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League.
“I don’t cheer much at games,” Blashill said. “I got a chance to cheer last night. It was fun.”
Devils at Red Wings
Faceoff: 5 p.m. Sunday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: The final Red Wings’ game at Joe Louis Arena… Henrik Zetterberg’s 1,000 game… Between two teams that had some trouble achieving altitude this season. But celebrating the venue might include some good hockey, with players on both teams performing for spots in the lineup next season.