|Teemu Selanne signs autographs outside the team's hotel prior to their morning skate.
The Ducks went through preparations for their battle with the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena, the start of a four-game road trip. BEHIND-THE-SCENES PHOTOS
10:10 a.m. - The day started with the team departing their hotel for the morning skate at JLA. As always, there's a group of diehard fans waiting outside hoping to meet their favorite players. Despite the cold temperatures (temperatures in the mid-20s with a wind chill of 15 degrees), Teemu Selanne made sure to sign autographs and take pictures with each person outside the hotel. It's just another reason why fans around the world love Selanne. After he spent five minutes mingling with the fans, he came aboard the bus and proclaimed, "Boy, it's a bit cold outside, huh?"
10:30 a.m. - After a brief bus ride to Joe Louis Arena, the Ducks began their normal morning routines. Some guys were in the hallway stretching while others were on the visiting bench watching the Red Wings go through their morning skate. After sticks were cut and taped, and the Zambonis finished smoothing out the ice, it was time for the Ducks to skate.
11:00 a.m. - Head coach Bruce Boudreau watched from the bench as his players went through their usual gameday drills. "Let's have some energy out here, boys!," he could be heard saying from the bench. Among the skaters was forward Jakob Silfverberg, who will play tonight for the first time since Oct. 25 at Ottawa. The 23-year-old Swede skated on a line with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano.
12:15 p.m. - Defenseman Cam Fowler was the center of attention after the morning skate. Fowler grew up in nearby Farmington Hills, and played at Joe Louis Arena as a kid. He made his NHL debut in this arena on Oct. 8, 2010, and expects another large group of friends and family for tonight's game.
“It’s great. It’s a special place for me,” he said. “I’ve been in this building a lot growing up. To come back and play against the team I watched growing up, and playing in front of my friends and family is something that’s special to me. It’s something I’m looking forward to.”
12:30 p.m. – The team boards the bus and heads back to the hotel for some food and rest.
About Joe Louis Arena
JLA opened on Dec. 12, 1979 and is the fourth oldest NHL venue after Madison Square Garden (New York City), Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Long Island) and Rexall Place (Edmonton). The arena, named after boxer and former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, replaced Olympia Stadium as the home of the Detroit Red Wings.
Remnants of the old Olympia Stadium still exist within Joe Louis Arena, including a street sign hanging on the wall just outside the home and away locker rooms.
JLA has the look and feel of a historic and classic hockey arena. There's a certain smell that can't really be described, and the stairs and seats around the concourse have a real old-school vibe.
“It's like every old building. It has history," said Koivu. "You look back in the days when they won the Cups, and you look at the names on the wall. When you walk into the building, it has that old hockey rink smell. It's a fun building, but by no means is it an easy one."
The banners hanging from the rafters serve as a constant reminder of the rich history and success of this Original Six franchise, while the outside of the arena has a big banner that showcases the team's core players.
The walls are adorned with the names of players from the past, and a walk through the hallway leading to the Red Wings locker room has plaques of previous teams and photos of some of the game's most iconic figures.
Directly across from JLA is Windsor, Ontario. Detroit and Windsor are separated by the Detroit River, which had big sheets of ice at its surface this morning.