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Detroit Red Wings name Dylan Larkin captain

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The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday named center Dylan Larkin the 37th captain in the history of the franchise.

Larkin, 24, is in Detroit for his sixth season. Hailing from Waterford, Larkin is a former Michigan star. He is the first Michigander to be named captain of the team.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Larkin said after training Wednesday in a Zoom session with the media. “I understand the importance of this role. I’ve seen it, been there, I’ve been a fan, and I’ve been to games. I can’t be honored anymore.

“I try to be myself every day and I have a great support system. It doesn’t stop there. I don’t change who I am. It means so much to me.”

The Luke Glendening and Frans Nielsen centers will serve as deputy captains for the 2020-21 season.

Larkin met with General Manager Steve Yzerman – apparently a legendary Wings captain himself – on Tuesday and was happy to take on the role of captain.

“It was special,” Larkin said of the meeting. “I didn’t need a big announcement or anything. Steve asked me if I was ready to take responsibility and I said ‘absolutely’.

“He said he wasn’t great at giving boys advice, but said he shouldn’t put too much pressure on me or change who you are because of your role on the team.”

Larkin called his brother Colin with the news after meeting Yzerman and personally told his parents Kevin and Denise on Tuesday evening that they would be driving to their house.

Larkin said he waited to give the information to his parents last because Dad may have leaked the news in his excitement.

“It was very special,” said Larkin. “I wanted to tell you personally. Dad would have leaked the news yesterday. They were very proud and it was just one of the special times in my career telling them and hugging them.”

Larkin has been Deputy Captain of the Red Wings since 2018-19. Nobody has worn the C since Henrik Zetterberg retired in 2018 due to an injury.

Larkin spoke respectfully of the impact Zetterberg had on Larkin’s entry into the NHL.

“Henrik was the ultimate captain for me,” said Larkin. “He did everything. He kept his emotions in check and whatever was going on in the locker room, he had his thumb on it and did everything like a captain should, pulling people aside and having a mature conversation.” The way he carried himself, all the boys respected him as much as anyone else I’ve seen.

“He was loved in our locker room.”

Since Reed Larson (Minneapolis) in 1982-83, Larkin is only the second American to be named captain of the wings.

Larkin’s career was tied entirely to the state of Michigan, where he played his junior hockey with the Lakeland Hockey Association and Belle Tire AAA Hockey before spending two seasons with the Plymouth Township-based US National Team Development Program (2012-14) season on from the University of Michigan (2014-15) and made a professional debut with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2014-15 postseason before the 2015-16 Red Wings honored as a 19-year-old.

“Dylan is an extremely competitive and motivated player who sets the standard for Red Wings commitment and conduct,” said Steve Yzerman, Red Wings executive vice president and general manager, in a statement. “This is the right time to name our new captain and we are sure Dylan is ready to take responsibility. He will be an excellent leader for us, both on and off the ice.”

Yzerman was due to speak to the media later on Wednesday afternoon.

Larkin has played 389 games with the team since 2015/16, a total of 266 points (107 goals) and 246 penalty minutes.

Coach Jeff Blashill, Larkin’s only professional coach, felt it was the right move at the right time.

“To lead people you have to have the respect of the people you lead, and he has the respect of every person in this room – player, coach, employee, because of his work ethic and drive, his competitiveness, how much he wants that this organization comes back to the top, “said Blashill.

Blashill has also coached Larkin three times at the Men’s World Championships and watched Larkin’s lead expand on that stage.

“He’s learned from great leaders, but ultimately he’s the right man to be the captain of this ice hockey team,” said Blashill.

Larkin spoke about the “tough” conversations he has had with Blashill over the years and how those conversations have helped Larkin develop into who he has become.

“Blash was very good to me, we have a great relationship,” said Larkin. “I’ve had more ‘hard’ conversations than ‘good’ conversations in my career, but there’s a lot of respect. He has the team’s best interests and now we can work together to change things.”

Overall, the Larkin captain’s announcement on Wednesday was an exclamation point of a lifelong passion for the organization.

“At school, my favorite time of year was the playoffs because we had to wear jerseys and we got extra recognition for wearing Wings’ gear to school,” said Larkin. “In 2002 I had to miss school to get to the (Stanley Cup) parade on Woodward. Just special things like this. It was very special to know history and what it was for my family and friends means the fans are.

“It’s special and means a lot to me.”

Red Wings captains

► 1926-27 – Art Duncan

► 1927-30 – Reg Noble (three seasons)

1930-31 – George Hay

1931-32 – Carson Cooper

1932-33 – Larry Aurie

1933-34 – Herbie Lewis

► 1934-35 – Ebbie Goodfellow

► 1935-38 – Doug Young (three seasons)

► 1938-41 – Ebbie Goodfellow (three seasons)

► 1941-42 – Ebbie Goodfellow, Syd Howe

1942-43 – Sid Abel

► 1943-44 – Mud Bruneteau, Bill Hollett

1944-45 – Bill Hollett

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► 1946-52 – Sid Abel (Six Seasons)

► 1952-56 – Ted Lindsay (four seasons)

► 1956-58 – Red Kelly (two seasons)

► 1958-62 – Gordie Howe (Four Seasons)

► 1962-73 – Alex Delvecchio (11 seasons)

► 1973-74 – Alex Delvecchio, Nick Libett, Red Berenson, Gary Bergman, Ted Harris, Mickey Redmond and Larry Johnston

1974-75 – Marcel Dionne

1975-76 – Danny Grant, Terry Harper

1976-77 – Danny Grant, Dennis Polonich

1977-78 – Dan Maloney, Dennis Hextall

► 1978-79 – Dennis Hextall, Nick Libett, Paul Woods

1979-80 – Dale McCourt

1980-81 – Errol Thompson, Reed Larson

1981-82 – Reed Larson

► 1982-86 – Danny Gare (four seasons)

► 1986-06 – Steve Yzerman (19 seasons)

► 2006-12 – Nicklas Lidstrom (six seasons)

► 2012-18 – Henrik Zetterberg (six seasons)

► 2020-pres. – Dylan Larkin

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Twitter: @tkulfan

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