Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill talks about the development of the fourth line of Luke Glendening, Martin Frk and Evgeny Svechnikov.
Detroit — It had been a while, since Feb. 13 to be exact. In terms of games, it was a total of 17, which also puts things in perspective.
So when Dylan Larkin saw the puck go past former teammate and current Philadelphia goalie Petr Mrazek on Tuesday night, it was a relief.
“It had been a while,” said Larkin, who didn’t have to wait long for his next goal (his 11th this season), in the third period, part of a two-goal, three-point game. “It felt good to get some pucks. I got a couple of good chances and it felt pretty good to score on Petr.
“The second one was a nice feed from Mo (Anthony Mantha). It does feel good to get a little confidence in scoring.”
While the goal-scoring had become stagnant, Larkin still had been steadily adding onto his assist total and entered Thursday night’s game against Washington leading the Red Wings with 42 assists (along a time-high 53 points).
The offensive numbers are good, but what has coach Jeff Blashill and the Red Wings more excited is the commitment to an overall game that Larkin has shown.
For Blashill, the fact Larkin was finally rewarded with a goal, and more points on the scoresheet, was vindication for Larkin’s work at both ends of the ice.
“Dylan has played real good and hasn’t gotten rewarded with points,” Blashill said. “That can be a hard thing but he’s stayed with it. He’s done a real good job of playing a 200-foot game. That’s what’s going to make him a great player in this league.
“He’s got to be a 200-foot player to be a great player. He understands that. He’s a guy who can certainly produce offense.
“(It) was good for him to get rewarded a little bit. He’s had chances and hasn’t got rewarded.”
Now in his third pro season, Larkin continues to display a work ethic that has been impressive since his rookie season.
“One of the hardest-working guys on our team,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said of Larkin. “He’s one of the first guys on the ice every single day for practice and one of the last ones off – and by last one off, he’s usually out there for a solid half hour after everyone is gone.
“As he continues to put in the work and effort, we’ll continue to see great things from Dylan. He’s working hard to being great at both ends of the ice, he’s taken on a bigger role this year, and he’s embraced it.”
As great a memory Evgeny Svechnikov had the other day scoring his first NHL goal, there will be other great memories for the family in the months ahead.
Younger brother Andrei is projected to be a top-five pick in June’s NHL Draft in Dallas.
The two brothers talked after Evgeny scored his milestone goal Tuesday against the Flyers.
“We face-timed – all night we were talking,” Evgeny said. “He’s very happy. My mom, too.”
Andrei is playing junior hockey in Barrie (OHL) this season, after having played in Muskegon (USHL), which was perfect for the Svechnikov family with Evgeny playing in Grand Rapids.
Evgeny didn’t hesitate at all, saying he’ll definitely attend the draft to support his younger brother.
“It’s going to be a great time to be at the draft and see where he goes,” Evgeny said. “Now it’s his time to shine. It’s very exciting, (we’re) very happy for him, very proud.
“He’ll be ready.”
The younger Svechnikov needs to be ready this summer, as older brother Evgeny is going to give him a crash course on what pro hockey is like.
“It’s a different game (and) I’m going to teach him this summer how to be a pro off the ice,” Evgeny said. “He’s mature, he knows what’s going on. I’m going to help him, talk to him every day.
Luke Glendening (foot) participated in the morning skate Thursday and was going to be in the lineup against the Capitals.
… NHL general managers, at their annual meetings this week, tweaked the goalie interference rule, hoping for more clarity.
The situation room in Toronto, with the help a former referee in the room, will have final say on a goalie interference call — upon a coach’s challenge.
The belief is, a more consistent standard will be established.
Blashill hopes the adjustments work.
“If you want more goals, it’s going to be a grayer rule, that’s the reality of it,” Blashill said. “If you want it to be more defined, there will be more goals called back.
“They’ve chosen to kind of go the route it’s been over the last couple months, so it’s probably a bit grayer. Probably more goals will stand, and they’re hoping for more consistency by less people being in the final determination – and, hopefully, that helps.”