Detroit – This will be a different weekend road trip for the Red Wings.
One that breaks up a long season and presumably brings some much-needed smiles.
The Red Wings' mothers will be with the team as it travels to Dallas for a game Friday and to Chicago for a game Sunday.
Usually it’s the dads who make the annual trip, but the mothers have done it once before and this will be trip No. 2, and everyone seems very fired up for it.
“It’s great, moms are very important to our careers,” said forward Dylan Larkin, whose mother Denise is on the trip. “I’m not going to say more than your dad, but my mom is a huge part of my life and huge person for me, and to have her with us (on this trip), it’s very special.”
There was definitely a different vibe in the locker room Thursday, with pictures and selfies all over the locker room – a ton of shots of mom in front of their son’s lockers – and laughter all over.
“It’s awesome, I know certainly they deserve just as every bit as the dads to come and be part of their son’s journey and see first-hand what their son’s life on the road is like,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s great, and it’s a different kind of atmosphere.
“It should be a lot of fun.”
There’ no question there are different dynamics when the mothers are on a road trip, compared to dads.
“She’s texting you what time the bus is, (while the) dads are already down at the hotel bar by the bus, so they’re just grabbing whatever,” Larkin said. “The moms are a little more organized, I guess. They enjoy it and have a great time and so do we.”
Said Blashill: “Guys feel a little bit more like they have to look after their moms, where they let the dads go, and sometimes when they let the dads go, they might go a little too hard. The moms keep it under control way better. I like having the moms on the trip, to be honest with you.”
This is a golden opportunity for many players to actually spend quality time with their mothers. The NHL season doesn’t allow for much time for families, so this is a good chance to catch up.
“The NHL schedule is so compact and it’s just hard to find time (seeing parents),” said defenseman Patrik Nemeth, whose mother Nina is on the trip. “I really appreciate the organization doing this. They (mothers, fathers) understand a little bit more once they’re here and see how we operate. It’s great.
“Going on our plane and living at the same hotel, just seeing how we’re living on a daily basis, it’s really appreciated from the organizational standpoint that they do this, it’s fun and it’s classy.”
The majority of the players will have their mothers on the trip, but it was decided this season that the coaching staff might do something special later in the season, keeping more seats available on the plane and not having to bump any staff.
Injured players Danny DeKeyser, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou will not be going on the road trip.
Red Wings at Stars
Faceoff: 8:30 p.m. Friday, American Airlines Center, Dallas
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: The Stars (23-14-4) are coming off Wednesday's Winter Classic victory over the Predators and have won three consecutive games. ... They've allowed the third-fewest goals (101) in the NHL and have the ninth-best penalty kill (82.2). ... C Tyler Seguin (21 assists, 32 goals) and G Ben Bishop (14-9-3, .926 SVS) have stood out this season.