ESPN’s Emily Kaplan filed a notebook article this morning which focuses on the flailing Red Wings and captain Dylan Larkin:
It’s tough to finish with a minus-122 goal differential and 23 fewer points than any other team. Larkin called it “embarrassing” to be on the first Red Wings team to finish dead last in the standings in 34 years.
“As much as your support system — your parents, agent, friends, people you turn to for advice — tell you that it’s going to make you stronger, it’s going to turn quick,” Larkin says. “When you’re in the moment of losing every night, and nobody is doing well personally, you feel like it’s never going to end, and there’s no way out of it.”
Larkin kept faith that his GM, Steve Yzerman, had a plan. The offseason was brutally long, thanks to Detroit being one of seven teams not invited to the summer’s return-to-play tournament. In August, Larkin said a handful of players returned to Detroit for optional practices, and by September, there were even more. Then came free agency in October, and Yzerman signed five veteran players — goalie Thomas Greiss, forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan, defensemen Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher — then traded for longtime New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.
Larkin was on a text chain with his two linemates, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. “It was just like, another great player, another great player,” Larkin says. “And then Ty texted: Are the Red Wings a wagon now?”
Continued; the Wings are obviously not a tremendous team yet, but it’s important to remember that they’re supposed to be held to a higher standard than last year’s team despite a shitty record right now. Here’s hoping that our and their expectations for a better year hold true…