All-Star weekend will be ‘cool’ for Larkin

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — It’ll be a family affair for Dylan Larkin this weekend at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

Larkin’s parents, Kevin and Sidney, will be attending, as will other members of the family to support the young Red Wings forward.

“The whole family, a lot of family, will be coming, so it’ll be fun,” Larkin sid.

As for his parents attending, Larkin, 19, said “they’ve been everywhere” in his hockey career, so it’s only natural they will be in Nashville this weekend.

“It’ll be cool,” said Larkin, a Waterford native.

While most of his teammates are in warm locales soaking up sun, Larkin will be playing more hockey.

Granted, it’s all for fun this weekend, low-key, but there are a slew of media and league obligations that’ll keep Larkin busy and far from any beach.

No matter. It’s hockey, and Larkin gets to put on his pads, and it’s a competition, so he’s more than fine to be headed to Nashville.

Just as people expecting Larkin to hit the proverbial wall in this 82-game season, he thinks, are wrong.

Why? Because he’s enjoying it all too much.

“It’ll be fun, just more hockey,” Larkin said. “It’ll be a good time.

“It’s hockey. I love doing it and it’s not a grind at all. I like the winter and I like the cold. It doesn’t get depressing being in Detroit in January and February. It’s just hockey to me, so I enjoy doing it.”

The vast majority of NHL stars will be in Nashville this weekend, but there’s nobody in particular Larkin has his sights on meeting.

“I’m hoping to meet anyone,” said Larkin, who will be part of the Atlantic Division team captained by Florida’s Jaromir Jagr. “I don’t know anyone going in, so it’ll be cool to meet anyone. They’re all great players and it should be a lot of fun.”

Larkin leads the Red Wings with 15 goals and is tied with Henrik Zetterberg with 33 points.

After scoring opening night with a dazzling goal against Toronto, Larkin has consistently produced offense and been a key reason the Red Wings are in the playoff hunt.

Playing with determined veterans such as Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk has helped, said Larkin, in his development.

“Playing with good players helps a ton,” Larkin said. “Every night they are going to produce so I just have to be ready to put pucks away or find them, and we’re going to produce offense.

“But it’s been going well. The games will be picking up soon as teams push for the playoffs and it’s going to be harder to be consistent.”

This weekend, though, Larkin will just try to have fun and absorb the atmosphere.

Who would have thought this was possible a year ago when Larkin was a freshman at Michigan?

“I couldn’t envision this,” Larkin said. “I don’t think anybody could.”