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Red Wings make their annual visit to Chlidren’s Hospital

The Red Wings made their annual pre-Christmas visit to Children's Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, and the team did its best to put a smile on ill children's faces, as noted by WXYZ's Brad Galli:

Red Wings TV also chronicled the visit...

And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji also spoke with the Wings during their visit...

"This is probably the visit that we look forward most to doing," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "Just for us to have a chance to spend some time with all the kids and their families, because the families are going through tough times, too. But for us to be here and just hopefully spread some joy and have some laughter with the kids and their families means a lot."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill said he has some personal connections that make these visits both meaningful and memorable.

"I'm a father of three, one of my best friend's little boy has had cancer, spent lots of time in different children's hospitals, my niece, she has a rare blood disorder but she has to go to weekly," Blashill said. "I spent three or four days when my son had heart surgery at Mott's Children's Hospital when he was two years old five years ago. These are important visits. What I find over there is you get way more out of it than the children do; it's a real reminder of perspective.

"Even when I was in there with my own son, it was unbelievable to see and to understand we were lucky, he had a fixable problem and some of the kids don't necessarily have fixable problems and so they're trying to enjoy every second of every day they can and I think that's important to remember that and perspective to me matters tons. I hope we can bring some happiness to the young kids over there, but I know we'll get way more out if it than they get."

Wakiji continues, and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan picks up the narrative:

There are many team functions the Red Wings have but none, in Trevor Daley’s estimation, has the impact that visiting Children’s Hospital of Michigan does. For Daley, a parent of two, the entire experience is “humbling,” the veteran defenseman said.

“I’ve done it with every team I’ve been with, and it’s the best visit we get to go on,” Daley said before the Red Wings’ traditional holiday visit. “It’s the most humbling as a father and parent that has two kids. It’s good to go in there and put a smile on peoples’ faces.”

Coach Jeff Blashill and the entire team made room-to-room visits, dropped off gifts, and made everyone’s day just a bit brighter. But it wasn’t just the kids who were impacted. This day, every year, leaves an impact with the players, too.

“I know guys really enjoy it and spending some time with the kids,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “It’s unfortunate circumstances for the kids who have to be in there. But if we can bring some joy and get their attention focused off what they’re going through for a few minutes, or for the day, give them something to be excited about … It puts life in perspective.”

Kulfan continues, too, and the players aren't kidding for a second when they say that this kind of visit is the most important thing they can do as professional athletes. They want to make a difference in the community, too, and this is one of the ways in which they officially do so...many continue doing so unofficially.

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.