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No Sochi? Some Wings seek sunny locales

Mexico is a popular destination during the Olympic break for some young Red Wings

Sunday, 02.9.2014 / 12:00 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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No Sochi? Some Wings seek sunny locales
Justin Abdelkader represented the U.S. in the 2012 World Championships but the Red Wings' forward wasn't picked for the Olympic roster. He plans to spend some time in Mexico during the break. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – The chilling polar vortex that's engulfed Michigan this winter has been more than enough to convince a few Red Wings players to fly south during the Olympic break.

While 10 of their teammates are at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, forward Justin Abdelkader, center Joakim Andersson and defenseman Brendan Smith will take a short break by soaking up some sun south of the border.

“I’m going to go home for like four days and then I’m going to go to Mexico for about five days,” Abdelkader said. “I can’t wait to get some warm weather.”

Andersson had the same idea in mind, and is looking forward to making his first trip to Mexico.

“It’ll be nice, I’ve never been to Mexico,” he said. “It looks nice in the pictures.”

But despite the endless sunshine the players are sure to enjoy, the Olympics will never be far from their minds.

“It’s going to be nice to get away and be with family and then be able to watch everybody at the Olympics, it’s going to be quite an experience,” Smith said. “I just watch the guys, the guys on my team and some of my buddies on other teams like Derek Stepan and (Ryan) McDonagh, to see how they can do at such a big stage like that.”

While Andersson will certainly be watching his teammates compete in the ice hockey tournament, he’ll also enjoy a few other winter sports that he remembers watching as a child in Sweden.

“I like the different skiing, downhill and cross country and all that stuff,” Andersson said. “I mean I like a lot of it and in Sweden we grew up with a lot of the sport, winter sports so it’s always fun with the Olympics no matter if it’s winter or summer.”

The players are also hoping the break will help them rejuvenate for the final, and pivotal, stretch of the season.

“We’ve had a lot of games lately too so it’ll be nice to kind of get refreshed and then come back after the Olympic break for about a month of hockey,” Andersson said.

With games every other night for nearly a two-week stretch in January, a short break is a welcoming sight.

“I think it’s we’ve been gearing up and going pretty much every second night, so to get away and recharge the battery I guess for some people to get healthy will be huge for us,” Smith said.

Not everyone will be traveling during the break, though, as center Riley Sheahan will return to Detroit’s minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids while his NHL teammates compete in Sochi. Through 16 games with the Wings this season, the 22-year-old has recorded three goals and seven assists.

Returning to the Griffins during the break will allow Sheahan to continue skating and working on his game as the Wings prepare for the last stretch of the regular season that will no doubt include a tight playoff race.

“I think it’d be better for us to keep playing,” Sheahan said.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89