Even foreign teammates talk turkey
Detroit — Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Canadians celebrate it a bit earlier, and Europeans are not normally big participants.
But food is universal merriment. And when it comes to the United Nations that is the Red Wings roster, it is generally "everyone in" one way or another.
As the Red Wings enter the second quarter of the schedule, the holiday based on gratitude and gastronomy falls between games against the Flyers on Wednesday and the Devils on Friday, with travel in between. Despite their dedication to the sport, practices and travel, and regardless of nation of origin, some thoughts and plans were about Thanksgiving on its eve.
For young bachelors from out of town, like Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Brian Lashoff, whose home here is a nest from which they are often absent, it is a bit of a matter of ad-libbing and remaining hopeful.
"Yeah, we haven't really talked about it much," Sheahan said. "I live with Glennie and Lash, and we haven't really planned anything.
"I'm sure someone is going to invite us over for a Thanksgiving meal — we'd be open to that," he said, with a big, perhaps hopeful, smile.
"But, right now, we haven't anything planned."
Gustav Nyquist said the importance of the date is clear, even if, growing up in Sweden, the American folklore of pilgrims and native people gathering for a meal is not an incessant theme in school this time of year.
"There's a lot of food, turkey," said Nyquist, the Red Wings leading goal scorer with 10. "That's a good thing!
"I've done a couple of different things for Thanksgiving. I've been to friends' houses. I've been to my girlfriend's family a few times.
"It's always a good time when families get together and enjoy a good meal.
"You're thankful for what you've got. You're putting me on the spot, here. I think I'm going to play the Swedish card, because I don't know, 100 percent."
Mike Babcock said he and the coaches find themselves as orphans, by and large. But like many Canadians who live and work in the U.S., having already celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Oct. 13, today provides a bonus dividend.
"Yeah, I double dip every time I get a chance," Babcock said.
"My family's in Fargo (North Dakota). My son's in Fargo (playing junior hockey), so my wife and two girls went to Fargo — they like him better than they like me.
"So, all by myself, eh? I can manage it. ... But I'll bet you there is a way to get a meal, somewhere."
With reports circulating in Canada and the United States that Daniel Alfredsson, the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer, is about to retire, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he has heard nothing official — which is not unusual.
An unrestricted free agent, Alfredsson said after last season he would either return to the Wings or retire
The Wings have long assumed his retirement was likely. Alfredsson reportedly has a bad back that prevents him skating in what would be a 19th NHL season.
He stands at 444 goals, 713 assists after tallying 18 goals and 31 assists in 68 games for the Red Wings, last season.
He might be gearing up to retire as a Senator, having played in Ottawa for 18 years.
"Well, I hear what I hear through the media," Holland said. "They're not going to be calling me.
"They asked me one thing: Did I have an issue if he retired as an Ottawa Senator? I said, I have no issues.
"Other than that, I don't know anything. I hear he is retiring next week, but…"
As they took the ice for the morning skate Wednesday, former Red Wings defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was at the Flyers bench taping a stick and eager to speak to former teammates, including Henrik Zetterberg, Lashoff, Brendan Smith and others who skated over to talk to him.