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It's a rushed Wings' Thanksgiving

Holiday weekend features three games in four days

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 3:19 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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DETROIT – With the Red Wings playing in Boston early Friday afternoon, Thanksgiving dinner will be more like a dine-and-dash than a big old feast this year.

“Yeah, pretty much with us leaving this Thanksgiving at 6 o’clock we don’t get much time,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “But my family is coming to the game tonight and we’re going to cook at my place tomorrow and Darren Helm is going to come over, so we’ll have a little Thanksgiving meal before leaving.”

The Wings begin a stretch of three games in four days, starting tonight against the Calgary Flames, in what has been a huge Thanksgiving Eve tradition over the years in Hockeytown.

However, sticking a road game in the middle of the holiday weekend certainly puts a kink in things for the Wings. So just as America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade winds to a conclusion down Woodward Avenue and the Detroit Lions get set to kick-off against the undefeated Green Bay Packers at Ford Field, the Wings will conduct a short morning skate-like practice at Joe Louis Arena Thursday morning.

“Ever since I've been here I don't know how many (Thanksgiving Days) we've had off, how many we've had on,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We're going to skate in the morning (Thursday), have a pregame skate like you would game day at 10:30, hopefully get the guys out of here at 11:05 so they can be with their families until we fly out.”

For Abdelkader, who was born and raised in western Michigan, Thanksgiving Day always meant a trip to grandma’s house, mom’s pie and Lions’ football.

“It’s just time to celebrate family time,” he said. “We always went over to my grandparents’ house (in Muskegon), had turkey dinner and watched football. Football was always a big part of it. Always seems like we ate around the football game, but my dad and I would always seek around to see the game on TV to see the score.”
 
As for his favor holiday fare, mashed potatoes always topped Abdelkader’s list, but “turkey is always a hit, too, and my mom makes a peanut butter pie that always tops it off,” he said. “I was never really a big fan of the stuffing when I was growing up, but more or less I’ve been eating it more over the last few years.”

The Wings have four players who were raised on American Thanksgivings, but many of the Europeans have been in the U.S. long enough that they too have grown to appreciate the spirit of the holiday.

“The thought behind the whole tradition of bringing families together is just so great,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, one of seven Swedish Wings. “And of course the meal itself is one big feast where people stuff themselves until they can’t move really. It’s a great tradition.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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