Tom Wilson spoke to Bill Shea at Crain's Detroit Business, and hinted at the idea of a joint arena:
An arena for both parties is the logical thing and best things for everybody – the fans, the teams and the owners.
For those who don't follow Palace Sports & Entertainment, Wilson is effectively the second-highest person in the organization behind Karen Davidson, who owns the team. So this is no off-hand comment here.
That being said, Wilson put plenty of caveats on his statement: the Pistons are probably going to be sold, so nothing would happen until then, plus there's been no actual discussion on anything related to a hypothetical arena. That being said, it's clear that the McCosky story on Monday seems to have brought the entire topic closer to the surface.
Wilson also refused to talk about any conversations with the Red Wings, which, when rubbed with lemon juice then heated, reads as "Jimmy Devalano now has a custom ring tone on my Blackberry and I'm adding him to my friends and family list so we don't have to pay for the minutes."
Shea, to his credit, refers only to Joe Louis Arena requiring "repairs and upgrades," not dropping in that unsourced figure that Chris McCosky threw out Monday. I asked Shea via e-mail if he knew what Olympia had in mind with those repairs:
The Ilitches have declined to talk about the specifics of what Joe Louis needs, either what the repairs/upgrades they believe are needed or the estimated cost. I've also asked the city, specifically the DEGC, about the $10 million figure floated in The Detroit News story, and they said they don't know where that figured comes from.
The DEGC is the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which is the group that is responsible for Joe Louis Arena.
Shea also reminded me that under the terms of the lease, Olympia is responsible for day-to-day upkeep of the arena. That'd lead me to believe the idea of using the term "repairs" is an attempt to push anything back onto the City of Detroit to take care of. <sarcasm> And, as we all know, the City of Detroit is flush with cash right now. </sarcasm>
To put it another way: imagine you had an apartment with very leaky windows. You can feel the cold air come in during the winter and leak out during the summer. You go to the building manager and say, "I think these windows need to be replaced." The building manager could reply: "It's not broken, so I'm not to replace it." Now you have two options: pay for the windows yourself, or move out to a place that doesn't have leaky windows.
June 30, the day the Red Wings' lease expires, just keeps getting closer and closer.