Detroit Red Wings fans are up in arms over center Dylan Larkin’s exclusion from the Atlantic Division roster for the NHL All-Star Game, and are campaigning vigorously on social media to try and gain him the vote in spot on the squad.
Larkin, while appreciative of the effort, has a simple request for all of you.
“I’m going to start voting for (Boston center Patrice) Bergeron,” Larkin joked. “It wouldn’t be bad to have the nine days (off).”
Larkin leads the Wings with 18-22-40 totals and is on pace for career-highs in goals (35) and points (77). His faceoff (54.4) and shooting (10.8) percentages are also currently at career best digits.
Does Larkin deserve all-star recognition? Absolutely he does. But so do Toronto’s Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly, and Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner, and they’ll also be sitting at home on all-star weekend unless things suddenly change.
You know what Larkin has also earned? A rest. He’s playing 21:47 per game, highest among Detroit forwards and eighth-highest among all forwards in the league.
An opportunity to chill for a time - Detroit’s bye week immediately follows the all-star break - is something that Larkin can not only make use of, but time that he would cherish.
“I think it’s key in this long season,” Larkin said. “We’ve had some tough stretches of games, one we’re going through right now, eight games in 16 days before the break. It does get pretty tough with the travel.
“It will help to recharge the batteries one way or another.”
Larkin thinks the selectors got it right by opting to go with goalie Jimmy Howard as Detroit’s lone representative on the Atlantic Division squad.
“Jimmy’s been our best player this season,” Larkin said. “He battles every night for us. He’s someone that’s been around the league for a while, been a Red Wing for a while. It’s well deserved for him to get recognized and he’s going to have a lot of fun.”
Not that Larkin didn’t enjoy his all-star experience during his rookie season with the Wings, when he set the record for the fastest lap around the ice during the skills competition.
“Yeah it’s fun,” Larkin said. “It’s a fun weekend celebrating hockey and being around all the best players in the world. Either way, it’s an honor to be recognized with that group.”
And that gets him to thinking that maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t mind all that much doing it again.
“I don’t know,” Larkin said. “I think you look at the players, just being around all those guys and San Jose is a bonus. It would be fun.
“I think it’d be fun to go with Howie and his two young boys James and Henry and see how excited they are. They’re always around the rink, so I know they’re going to be fired up. It’d be cool to be with them.”
Extra Record Larkin’s game winner in Friday’s 4-3 overtime decision against Nashville that halted the Wings’ six-game losing skid was also a new franchise mark.
It was his fourth overtime goal of the season. He’d already earned a share of the previous club mark of three OT winners in a season with Steve Yzerman (2000-01), Brendan Shanahan (2003-04) and Herbie Lewis (1932-33), but now the record is all his.