97.1 the Ticket’s Will Burtchfield discusses Dylan Larkin’s being named the Red Wings captain as, well, what it is:
Larkin doesn’t need to change to change the Wings’ fortunes, because talent and leadership will change them in time. The team has leaned on Larkin for both, and Larkin continues to find more of both to give. He’s been Detroit’s best player for the past three seasons and its de facto captain for the past two. The ‘C’ on his jersey merely confirms what we already knew.
“In order to lead people, you have to have the respect of those that you’re leading,” said Jeff Blashill. “There’s no doubt Dylan has the respect of every person in that room, players, coaches, staff, because of who he is. Because of his work ethic, because of his competitiveness, how much he wants to win, how much he wants this organization to get back to the top, because of his care for others, how he treats people, his selflessness. He just has the ultimate respect of every guy in that room.”
It reads like a fairytale, the story of Larkin’s life. That’s probably what it was until his second season with the Wings, until his favorite team collapsed and Larkin was part of the rubble. It’s been cold, hard reality ever since, a $30 million payday notwithstanding. His reality doesn’t change with his captaincy, because his captaincy isn’t the conclusion to a story that’s just getting good.
“I never dreamt it to be like this,” Larkin said. “I just tried to be myself every day and had a great support system and great teammates who allowed me to do that. It continues. It doesn’t stop here. It doesn’t change necessarily who I am, just makes me more responsible and allows me to voice my opinion to the guys. It’s hard to put into words. This means so much to me.”
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan weighs in with Steve Yzerman’s take:
“He’s a really good person. He’s a mature young man. He’s responsible. He cares. We feel with our team, the age he’s at (24), where we are as an organization, his maturity as a hockey player, he just has a lot of attributes that make him a natural leader and perfect fit for us as our captain.”
It is an exclusive club. Yzerman was the longest-serving captain in NHL history (22 seasons). Nicklas Lidstrom wore the C the next six seasons and Henrik Zetterberg for six more. The Red Wings had only alternate captains, of which Larkin was one, the past two seasons.
“I strongly believe he represents our organization extremely well,” Yzerman said. “He’s extremely proud to be a part of the Red Wings organization and has a burning desire to be successful here.”