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Thankful for being a Wing

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – On this day when so many Americans give thanks for good fortune and family, Fabian Brunnstrom is thankful to the Red Wings’ organization for taking care of him and his wife, Sandy, who is expected to give birth to the couple’s first child, a boy, at any moment.

Brunnstrom was called up from Grand Rapids following the Wings’ 5-3 win over Calgary Wednesday. The call up wasn’t so much about filling a roster spot as it was an act of goodwill by general manager Ken Holland, a father of four, who wanted the Swedish forward to be in suburban Detroit for the baby’s arrival.

“Yeah, I talked to Kenny and he said that he wanted me to be close to my wife,” Brunnstrom said. “They wanted to make sure that everything went well and I really appreciate that too.”

Brunnstrom practiced with the Wings Thursday morning at Joe Louis Arena, but he won’t travel with the team to Boston where they will play the Bruins Friday at 1 p.m. EST.

Brunnstrom signed a one-year, two-way free agency contract in October with the Wings, his third different NHL franchise in four seasons. But he’s not sure that any other organization would have extended such a courtesy.
“No I don’t think so,” he said. “I’ve been in really good organizations before, but I don’t know how other clubs handle things like this, but I really appreciate this and how they’ve told me that everything is going to be all right.”

Coach Mike Babcock is happy for Brunnstrom, but with the team in the middle of a three game stretch in four days, he wants him available to play as soon as possible. The Wings host Central Division rival Nashville Saturday night.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, and yet he has to play games,” said Babcock, about the unique call-up. “We brought him up for that reason obviously, yet his wife is about to give birth, we want him to be here for it, at the same time he needs to play hockey and touring around with us and not playing hockey doesn’t do him any good. … Ideally they’ll have their first child, everything goes well and he can get back to playing hockey.”

Brunnstrom will be the second Wings’ player to become a first-time father this season, joining goalie Jimmy Howard, who provided some early fatherly advice.

“Yeah, I’ve talked to him and some of the other guys too,” Brunnstrom said. “They all have said that it’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work too. I’ve heard that it’s less sleep, and adjusting to the baby and their eating and sleeping.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, it’s something new obviously. I don’t know what it will be like, but it will probably change me in some way. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I hope everything goes well.”

But first things first, Brunnstrom said, as the couple still must decide on a name for their new bundle of joy.

“We’ve talked about it a lot,” he said. “Of course we have a lot of different names, but I think it’s hard to choose a name before you see someone. And we’ve both agreed to wait and see, and maybe we’ll find out right away.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill
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