Detroit Red Wings face Northern invasion: Pre-game meal options

Octopus Thrower

Over the next eight days, the Detroit Red Wings will host three teams who hail from our northern adversary, err, neighbor. The Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, November 9th (followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday the 11th, but that’s a whole other war); then the Ottawa Senators on the 16th; and finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the final reinforcements thrown into the battle on the 17th.

Hosting three Canadian teams in just eight days presents huge challenges. First Les Canadiens, known by their local fans as the Habs, short for “Les Habitants,” present a language barrier that few of us can surmount. How one communicates with men named LaFleur, Beliveau, or Cournoyer, no one has ever figured out. That said, the poor French devils are delighted by our culinary fare. Evidently, they exist on a sort of onion broth in their homeland. As soon as they cross the border, they head over to the Coney Island purveyors for a celebratory dinner of ‘les saucissons’. My heart breaks to think this might be their best meal of the week.

I wanted to try the broth made from French onions, but when I asked the stock man at Vince and Joe’s Produce about them, he was speechless. He was without speech. It was every apology I could muster not to get tossed out of the place! My advice is to get over to your local Coney Island emporium for a couple of ‘les saucissons’ and, if cultural sensitivity is your thing, ask the boys for an extra line of French’s yellow mustard. At any rate, the money you save here will come in handy for the next two Canadian teams.

Their scant caloric intake might explain why Les Habitants’ play has fallen off of late, witnessed by their four straight losses. Scant calories are not a problem when the Ottawa Senators visit one week later. Hailing from the capital of our northern neighbor, the Senators are, as their name suggests, quite politic about their road diets. Oh, they talk a good game about arugula, quinoa, and lentils, but the night before the game, you will find them sitting happily before a 40oz porterhouse at a local steak house, with adult beverages ON THE TABLE. American Beef is what they crave. And they’ll need as much of it as they can lay their delicate hands-on with the turmoil they’ve undergone this young season. The Senators are led by Brady Tkachuk in both offense and toughness. Detroit Red Wings Michael Rasmussen scrimmaged with Tkachuk in the last game between these two teams, and it would be worth the price of admission to see how the two get on in this contest. Of course,e steak is never a bad idea for a pre-game meal, regardless of the visiting team. So fire up the grill before the snow deepens, and go for it!

Detroit Red Wings play host to Canadian teams during the homestand.

The next night brings the high fallutin’ Toronto hockey club. Once the proud franchise of Tim “Donuts” Horton, with no known relation to our own Willie Horton, the Leaves are now led by Auston Mathews, amazingly from the southwest United States (possibly Area 51 near Roslyn, but we have not been able to confirm this, at this time). Matthews has a laser shot and is often assisted by Mr. Mitchell Marner, a  local dandy. Hosting this team has always been a high hurdle. Hailing from Canada’s financial capital (just a couple of buildings, but okay), the Leaves have the high taste of women who enjoy very expensive sushi but the appetites of a voracious, flannel-clad Canadian rail splitter. Bring a few credit cards and your checkbook when you host this gang at a Japanese establishment. If the Red Wings want two point out of this contest, they need to do better than their poor start against the Rangers and their 0-for-6 power play!

If laying a whole paycheck down for dinner isn’t your idea of ‘fun’, I recommend visiting your local fishmonger for a package of fresh walleye. Native to both Detroit and Toronto, they make an excellent Friday night meal all year round! Add in a dish of All American Mac n Cheese, and enjoy!

I considered a couple of other native Canadian culinary options, like ‘Poutine’, but it’s part of some strange Arctic ritual as it’s only served after the bars close? Or ‘smoked meat,’ which appears to be a poor man’s pastrami and is not available outside of Quebec, fortunately.

Hosting duties aside, the Detroit Red Wings have an excellent opportunity to pick up valuable points during this ‘Canadian/Buckeye’ homestand. But for gosh sake, men, stay away from the poutine!

And yes, I know the Columbus Blue Jackets are another team the Red Wings will face during this home stretch. I’m currently researching some ideas for them and having a ton of luck because Ohio was only recently added to the Internet, apparently. But if I can’t find it, no worries, I’ll make it up!

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