Wings aren’t cooking but fans still get fries

The Detroit Red Wings are last in the NHL after nine games, fulfilling the expectations of many who believed they’d be one of the league’s worst teams as they rebuild. There may have been no greater harbinger of that futility than the newly established threshold for free curly fries in Detroit.

For over a decade, Arby’s has had a promotion where fans could receive free curly fries if a Red Wings player scored a hat trick. In some cases, fans would go to participating restaurants and have to show a box score from the previous night’s game as proof. In other cases, they could just say say “I’m here for the free Wings fries.”

The promotion was so popular that Red Wings announcers would reference it after hat tricks. Fans even revolted when Arby’s briefly swapped the fries for free sandwiches.

But it’s difficult to give away free curly fries for a hat trick when, simply put, there are no hat tricks. In 82 games last season, when they finished 27th overall in the NHL, no Detroit Red Wings player scored three goals in a game. The team only had three hat tricks in its previous two seasons combined as well.

So Arby’s decided to lower the bar this season for free fries. As first noted by hockey analytics blogger Prashanth Iyer, Arby’s is now giving away free curly fries for any game in which the Red Wings, rather than an individual player, score three or more goals.

“We want to continue to reward fans and give them the best chance possible to get free Arby’s Curly Fries,” an Arby’s spokesperson told ESPN. “After last season, we realized there were too few occurrences of Hat Tricks, leaving fans hungry for more Curly Fries. This year, we hope to reward our die hard Arby’s and Red Wings fans with a chance to savor our Curly Fries more often.”

Better warm up those fryers. The Red Wings scored three or more goals in a game 39 times last season and already hit the number three times this season. Detroit has yet to have a hat trick in 2018-19.

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