I would avoid parking at or near the Joe at all costs. The traffic/congestion gets hairy out there after the game ends. There are a number of restaurants that are within walking range, or provide free shuttle service to the Wings' games and back which are really convenient. Hockeytown cafe, Cheli's Chili I believe both have shuttles and provide a good environment to hang out and eat beforehand. There is also a bar with awesome pizza called Z's Villa a bit north of Downtown, on Woodward. They also provide a shuttle to the game and back, last time I checked.
My typical gameday experience, however, is to go to Hardrock Cafe, because they have a nice parking garage which offers free parking if you eat there. They also have a shuttle to the game, but its within walking distance if you don't mind walking, so I typically walk to the Joe from there.
I don't know much about where players are before/after games. I've never stuck around or looked to get an autograph.
There are no bad seats at the Joe; I will agree with that. I've been in almost every section in the upper bowl and never had any issue seeing the game (although its definitely more fun being close to the ice!)
Anyway, welcome to Detroit! I hope you have a blast!
Edited by Echolalia, 27 October 2013 - 07:53 PM.