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Wings window shop at auto show

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – Not even a two-hour stroll through the North American International Auto Show on Wednesday could change Justin Abdelkader’s mind.

The Wings left winger is dead-set on purchasing a new Chevy Tahoe for his next ride. But that didn’t prevent Abdelkader from doing some window-shopping at Cobo Hall with his teammate, rookie Darren Helm.

“It was really neat to check out all of the new cars that are coming out,” Abdelkader said. “But I think I have my mind set on the Tahoe, though I thought the electric cars were really neat. It was just a good experience all around.”

One such car that caught the attention of the Wings was the Tesla Roadster, an electric car that gets 313 miles on a single charge. The roadster goes 0-60 m.p.h in 3.9 seconds and carries a starting price tag of $101,500.

The Wings teammates had plenty of room to roam throughout the show during Industry Preview Day prior to the opening day for the general public, which is this Saturday. The auto show runs through Jan. 24.

“I thought (the show) was a lot bigger than it would be,” Abdelkader said.

Abdelkader and Helm couldn’t pass up a challenge from a pair of engineers at the Ford Fiesta Foosball Table. Though the Wings were upset, 4-2, by the Ford employees, Abdelkader was quite impressed by the automaker’s products.
“They really produce some really nice cars,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the auto sales have been down as they are, but I guess it just goes with the economy; there are some beautiful cars that they come out with.”

The teammates were also give personal tours of the 2011 Ford Mustang GT California Special, a 5.0-liter V8 coupe with plenty of horsepower under the hood, and the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, which starts at $285,000.

While Helm said he’s almost always migrated toward North American-made cars, it was a German-manufacturer, which peeked his excitement at the auto show.

“I saw the Audis. There were a couple of nice ones there,” Helm said. “The R8 was looking pretty good, pretty fast. I kinda drive too fast to begin with; so that might be a bad idea. The Bentley looked pretty good and I could see Abby driving me around in that, to a couple of practices.”

Growing up in rural Alberta, Helm said there were plenty of Fords, GMs and Chryslers around.

“I’m not a big car guy, so I didn’t grow-up looking at cars, and seeing what other people had,” he said. “I didn’t realize how many cars and different types of vehicle there were. I wouldn’t say that this was a hug eye-opener, but I was interested in coming here and seeing what’s out there.”

For information on the North American International Auto Show, visit their Web site at

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