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Wings, fans put on poker face for charity

Detroit Red Wings Foundation hosts fifth annual Charity Poker Tournament

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 9:07 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Wings, fans put on poker face for charity
Casco, Michigan resident Patti Miller contemplates her next move at the Detroit Red Wings Foundation Charity Poker Tournament.

DETROIT - For Patti Miller, there are three reasons she decided to attend the fifth annual Red Wings Charity Poker Tournament: poker, charity and of course, her favorite Wings players.

“That’s the reason we keep coming back, it’s a great cause too, the Red Wings’ charitable foundation,” Miller said. “Rub elbows with them, sit at the table with them, have fun.”

Attendees of the event enjoyed a strolling dinner, a silent auction and mingling with 17 of Detroit’s players at the MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board to begin the evening. Following the dinner and cocktail hour, the guests migrated to the casino’s poker room where the games began.

Miller, a 10-year poker veteran, couldn’t wait to improve on her previous tournament’s finish.

“I was the last lady standing but I didn’t get any poker prizes,” Miller said. “This year for sure.”

While everyone walked away with a parting gift and overnight room compliments of the casino, the top 10 finishers were awarded one-of-a-kind prizes courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. The grand prize included a trip for two on Red Bird III during the 2014-15 preseason, while the second place finisher won a suite for a Red Wings home game during the 2014-15 regular season and post-game meet and greet with a player.

Third place received four tickets to an upcoming home game and fourth through tenth place won an autographed, game-used hockey stick.

“It’s good for the charity,” said Kevin Modreski, who was attending his fourth poker tournament. “It was a fast night but it was fun.”

The players enjoyed the evening just as much as their fans did.

“I feel like some people like are really becoming familiar to me and seeing them over again it’s kind of nice and to talk to them,” forward Tomas Tatar said. “I always have a great time here, it’s kind of fun to be here.”

But Tatar may enjoy this particular event for more than one reason. Both of the forward’s older brothers play poker professionally, and he’s picked up a few tricks from them over the years.

“Yeah, but I can’t tell them,” Tatar said with a laugh. “It’s a secret.”

One thing is definite, though: the 23-year-old didn’t enjoy the pressure he felt to do well in the tournament.

Jakub Kindl puts on his poker face for the fifth annual Detroit Red Wings Foundation Charity Poker Tournament

“Everybody’s putting pressure on me and everybody thinks I’m good now,” Tatar said. “I was playing a little bit too when I’m home but I’m not saying I’m good.”

While Jakub Kindl is more of a casual poker player, he was determined to finish ahead of his teammates. The defenseman even looked the part of a professional, sporting a pair of dark sunglasses and a hat to hide any hint of an expression.

“As long as I’m not the first guy kicked out it’s all good,” Kindl said.

Unfortunately for the defenseman, his poker face didn’t last long. Kindl was the first player to be eliminated from the tournament, followed shortly by Mikael Samuelsson and Drew Miller.

“It’s always tough getting out but I beat Kindl and I think Samuelsson so I’m not the only one out and I wasn’t the first one out,” Miller said.

Despite his early exit from the poker tournament, the forward enjoyed every minute of the annual event.

“Yeah it’s great,” Miller said. “Anytime you get out with the fans and interact it’s great for them, great for us to give back to them, be around them and also give back to charity.”

Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59