'No way I was coming out here without her': How new Red Wings are adjusting

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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The newest Detroit Red Wings are fast finding themselves at home.

For example, forward Vladislav Namestnikov can look up from his locker stall and see a familial face: That of his uncle, Slava Kozlov, a former Red Wings Stanley Cup champion and member of the Russian Five.

“I sit directly across from it, so when I look up, I see him,” Namestnikov said. “It’s very exciting for me and for my family that I am playing for the Red Wings.”

Namestnikov has the advantage of having lived in the metro area since he was a kid. On the other hand, defenseman Troy Stecher drove in mid-December from Vancouver to Detroit – with his Bernese Mountain dog, Phoebe.

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Troy Stecher's dog, Phoebe.
Troy Stecher's dog, Phoebe.

“We’re living out in Birmingham,” Stecher said. “We’ve found a couple parks here and there’s a good trail I’ve been walking around. People are very friendly in the neighborhood saying good morning every day, saying hi. I’m sure they have no idea who I am. It’s a beautiful town. I’m very happy I’m living out there.”

Stecher noted that while he knew Dylan Larkin also had a similar dog, “he’s got a Bernedoodle, it’s got a little poodle it in so it’s a little smarter than my dog.”

Stecher broke up the trip. The first night he stayed in Billings, Montana, where he said he felt comfortable because “it’s pretty outdoors-y, so I figured they’d allow my dog in the hotel.

“The second night I drove to Minnesota. I actually stayed with Brock Boeser, who I played with in Vancouver and I actually played with him at North Dakota, so we’ve become really, really good friends. And then I went to Madison, Wisconsin, where my girlfriend lives. I spent two nights there to break up the trip. And then on Friday I came in here and started my quarantine.”

Detroit Red Wings' Troy Stecher during the first training camp practice at the Little Caesars Arena practice rink, Jan. 1, 2021.
Detroit Red Wings' Troy Stecher during the first training camp practice at the Little Caesars Arena practice rink, Jan. 1, 2021.

Stecher said Phoebe “was a trooper. I couldn’t be more proud of her. There was no way I was coming out here without here.”

Stecher isn’t the only new Wings player finding himself at home. Bobby Ryan and his wife have been enjoying the West Bloomfield area.

“My wife and I have been able to get out and have some dinners in the outdoor bubbles,” Ryan said. “See the area. My wife is excited – there’s no Trader Joe’s in Canada, or Nino Salvaggio, so those stores are costing me a bundle right now.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dogs, Uncles & Trader Joe's: How new Detroit Red Wings are adjusting

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Detroit
+120+1.5O 6
Chicago
-139-1.5U 6