Red Wings’ new arena will be a ‘piece of art’

7 Comments

DETROIT (AP) Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson traveled throughout North America, visiting NHL arenas to take the best ideas from them for the Motor City.

He also took a look at how the roof of a hockey arena in Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics was lit up with cool displays.

Just three months before Kid Rock becomes the first star to perform in the centerpiece of a 50-block development, Wilson touted the facility that the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons will share next season. The arena is part of an active construction zone in an $800-plus million project.

Much of the arena is draped with an aluminum shell that will become a big screen to show projected videos and images to create the same effect people saw three years ago during the Sochi Games.

“Bigger than anything you’ll see in Times Square, Disney or Vegas,” Wilson told reporters Monday during a guided tour.

He spoke under a translucent plastic roof on an elevated concourse inspired by the High Line in New York.

“This building is going to be a piece of art,” Wilson gushed. “I think this is going to blow people away.”

Capacity for hockey games will be about 20,000, with almost half of those seats in the lower level. About 21,000 fans can watch hoops in the heart of the Motor City.

Even those without one of the best seats in the house will have a clear view of what Wilson said will be the largest scoreboard in the NHL with videoboards that will be the same size along the sideboards and behind the nets.

There are seating sections that seem suspended from the ceiling, looming over steeply pitched sections below them. That idea was born after a scouting trip to Madison Square Garden in New York. On another day, he took note of how intimate the Bell Centre appeared to be for the Montreal Canadiens.

“It should be the tightest bowl,” Wilson said. “The whole emphasis is about getting close.”

It should sound good, too.

“We’ll have the finest acoustics of any arena this size in the country,” Wilson said.

With two teams, the Red Wings and Pistons, that may struggle next season, Wilson is selling an experience that begins before games and continues after the final horn.

Several restaurants will be on site and an outdoor plaza can give up to 4,000 people, with or without tickets to one of 250 events each year, a place to hang out and listen to concerts while sipping on something and getting a bite to eat.

“I think it’s going to change the way people attend an event,” Wilson said.

Sabres bring back defenseman Fedun on two-year deal

Getty
Leave a comment

Taylor Fedun, the Sabres depth defenseman that was set to become a UFA on Saturday, has agreed to a two-year, two-way extension, Buffalo announced on Monday.

Fedun, 29, appeared in 27 games for the Sabres last year, splitting time between the NHL and the club’s AHL affiliate in Rochester. He was a very productive player for the Amerks, scoring 23 points in 29 games.

Moving forward, most expect Fedun to continue in the same role he served this year — a guy that can provide veteran stability at the minor league level, and fill spot duty at the NHL level when injuries strike.

Ottawa extends Pyatt — two years, $2.2 million

Getty
Leave a comment

Tom Pyatt, the veteran forward who enjoyed some success reuniting with Guy Boucher in Ottawa last season, has re-signed with the Sens on a two-year, $2.2 million deal, per TSN.

Pyatt was a steady contributor for the Sens, scoring nine goals and 23 points while appearing in all 82 contests. He averaged over 15 minutes per night and was a vital part of the club’s penalty kill, leading all forwards in blocked shots.

He also appeared in 14 playoff games, scoring twice.

Prior to playing in Ottawa, Pyatt had skated under Boucher in Tampa Bay. They spent parts of two years together with the Lightning, before heading off to Switzerland — Pyatt with Geneve Servette, Boucher with Bern SC.

Pyatt was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday, but clearly liked the fit in Ottawa. He’ll get a pay bump — up from the $800,000 he made last year — a bit more long-term security, and possibly a bigger role with the Sens moving forward.

Ottawa has already stated it will cut ties with veteran tough guy Chris Neil, and decisions are still looming on UFA forwards Viktor Stalberg, Chris Kelly and Tommy Wingels.

 

 

Kassian gets three-year, $5.85 million commitment from Oilers

Getty
Leave a comment

Zack Kassian, after some terrific performances for the Oilers in the playoffs, has signed a three-year contract extension in Edmonton.

The deal is worth $5.85 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. That’s a cap hit just below $2 million.

Kassian, 26, seems to have salvaged his NHL career after missteps in Vancouver and Montreal. The big winger had seven goals and 17 games in 79 games for the Oilers during the regular season. But it was in the postseason where he really made an impact — especially in the first round against San Jose.

Twice Kassian scored game-winning goals against the Sharks. He was also a physical force:

Granted, Kassian was less noticeable in the second round, but the fact he received a three-year commitment from the Oilers speaks to the organization’s belief that he’s truly turned his life around.

Related: Kassian opens up about struggles with alcoholism

Stars give Lindell two-year extension

Getty
Leave a comment

More news out of Dallas, where the Stars have signed defenseman Esa Lindell to a two-year, $4.4-million contract extension.

From the release:

Lindell, 23, posted 18 points (6-12=18) in 73 games played for Dallas during the 2016-17 regular season, his first full season in the NHL. He finished second on the team by averaging 21:52 of time on ice per game and his +8 plus/minus rating finished third. Additionally, he finished second on the team with 119 blocked shots and tied for fifth with 93 hits.

The Stars still have a couple of restricted free agents on the back end. Both Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak are arbitration-eligible. Lindell was not.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Stars were buying out goalie Antti Niemi.

Dallas also signed forward Mark McNeill to a one-year, two-way contract extension. The 24-year-old was acquired from Chicago in the Johnny Oduya trade on Feb. 28.