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High heat and humidity might make the Joe’s ice less than ‘fast’ tonight

As noted in the game-day update thread and as mentioned this morning, Southeastern Michigan's expecting temperatures to peak around 90 degrees this afternoon and evening, and the local weatherpeople are forecasting a significant possibility of severe thunderstorms, so while the Chicago Blackhawks gushed about playing on the "fast ice" at Joe Louis Arena yesterday, the Detroit News's Matt Charboneau notes that the ice might not be so nice after all:

It was a common refrain around Joe Louis Arena on Monday as the Red Wings and Blackhawks prepared for Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals: The ice in Detroit is among the best in the league.

But even the playing surface inside Joe Louis Arena suffers when the temperatures outside are in the upper 80s and the humidity is high.

"It is good ice here," Chicago's Viktor Stalberg said after the team's morning skate. "But it didn't feel great this morning maybe because the heat outside. It usually is one of the better surfaces, that's for sure. It makes the game a little quicker and the puck tempo better."

The Red Wings bring in gigantic dehumidifiers that they park outside the Joe to aid in removing moisture from the air, but you can only do so much to aid a 34-year-old building's cause when you open the doors to let 20,000 people in, so the Wings and Hawks alike should expect the ice to be slushy and wet in the 1st period and hopefully improve as the game goes along. Al Sobotka and the Wings' building crew definitely have their work cut out for them tonight.

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Comments

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

it always used to seem a problem for the high-flying Wings when playing against scrappy teams on crappy ice.  now that the tables are turned this year and the Wings are the scrappy ones, with the Blackhawks being the (supposedly) high-flying team…maybe it’s not such a bad thing that the ice will slow them down…

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/20/13 at 02:14 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

I’ve said this elsewhere, but I’ll say it here, too: HVAC isn’t rocket science.  If the Wings (or any team, really) expect to play late into May/June, they ought to have HVAC equipment sufficient to produce great ice in early summer weather.  It’s stupid to spend $60M+ annually on payroll but suffer from shitty ice just to avoid spending a fraction of that on HVAC equipment.

Posted by Savage Henry on 05/20/13 at 02:29 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The team would argue that the big portable HVAC equipment is more efficient than installing new stuff on a rink that might not be standing 10 years from now.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/20/13 at 02:44 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

and is there HVAC equipment available that can really keep the humidity down while all the doors to the building are open for a few hours letting everyone in?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/20/13 at 02:47 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

@george: agreed.  Portable and temporary is the way to go.  They can probably rent it and not even have to make a huge capital investment.

If they’ve brought in aux dehumidification and it still isn’t enough, they can afford more.  The technology is well understood and there is a century’s worth of HVAC experience to draw on, and 30 years worth of experience with how JLA behaves in late May.  This isn’t the first time The Wings have made it to the second round. 

Disclaimer: I design and build industrial dehumidifiers.  Not trying to sell anything to The Wings, I just hate watching good teams play on shitty ice.  We’re not Anaheim or Los Angeles, we shouldn’t be playing on California-grade ice.

Posted by Savage Henry on 05/20/13 at 02:52 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

it always used to seem a problem for the high-flying Wings when playing against scrappy teams on crappy ice.  now that the tables are turned this year and the Wings are the scrappy ones, with the Blackhawks being the (supposedly) high-flying team…maybe it’s not such a bad thing that the ice will slow them down…

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/20/13 at 03:14 PM ET

The Wings won game two in large part by playing their vintage puck possession style like it was 2008 or 1998 all over again. No doubt they are more of a north/south team now than they’ve been in a while, and will have to play an uglier style to beat the Hawks. But the Wings are still a better team on good ice, in my opinion.

The team would argue that the big portable HVAC equipment is more efficient than installing new stuff on a rink that might not be standing 10 years from now.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/20/13 at 03:44 PM ET

This. Also as Paul points out, you then have to do with getting everyone in the doors. It’s muggy out today with t-storms rolling in slowly. Given their track record, I’m sure the Wings will provide among the best ice possible given the circumstances.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/20/13 at 02:54 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I’d guess there’s more to this story than bad building management.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/20/13 at 03:58 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.