Khan: Wings won’t have a captain this season, team to go with four alternates

Catching up on a busy day’s worth of news…

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the media today that the team will not name a captain this season, going with four alternate captains instead. MLive’s Ansar Khan reports on the story

The Detroit Red Wings are not prepared to name Dylan Larkin their next captain, not yet, at least.

Coach Jeff Blashill said Thursday the team will start the season with four alternates – Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening.

“I talked extensively with (new general manager) Steve Yzerman during the course of the summer and with respect to the fact Steve is just getting to know our players, it made sense to go with four alternates,” Blashill said. “We reserve the right to change our mind.”

Larkin was named an alternate captain last season after Henrik Zetterberg announced his retirement, as the team opted not to have a captain. Larkin and Nielsen rotated wearing the ‘A’ – Larkin at home and Nielsen on the road, when Abdelkader and Niklas Kronwall were in the lineup (only three players are permitted to wear a letter in a game).

The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms

“Steve and I discussed through it through the course of the summer and with Steve being new to the organization regarding the current players, it gives him a chance to get to know everybody involved,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Free Press. “We feel with adding Luke it gives us four really strong voices and a good group of leaders.”

Under previous GM Ken Holland, it was expected that Larkin would be crowned captain after a season as an alternate. Larkin and Nielsen rotated wearing an ‘A,’ when Kronwall and Abdelkader both were in the lineup, as only three players are permitted to wear a letter per game. 

Larkin, 23, is the face of the rebuild, and likely to follow previous captains Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Yzerman as a career-long Wing. Yzerman was 21 when he was named captain, but that was back in 1986, before social media added to the scrutiny players undergo. 

Blashill said the team “we reserve the right to change our mind” and might name Larkin captain at some point this season, but “right now, that’s not our focus. Our focus is on how we’re going to attack the year.”

Update: WXYZ’s Brad Galli weighed in:

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.