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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  - DetroitRedWings.com
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It\'s a rushed Wings\' Thanksgiving
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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80