Red Wings Larkin, Jensen join Team USA for worlds

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin

Detroit — Dylan Larkin and Nick Jensen will join coach Jeff Blashill as Red Wings representatives on Team USA for the upcoming world championship next week in Denmark.

Blashill and Larkin are on the national team for the second consecutive year. Team USA was eliminated in the quarterfinals last spring.

Blashill said on locker cleanout day earlier this month that, ideally, the Red Wings would be competing in the playoffs.

If not, though, the world championship is an excellent experience for any head coach or player.

“It’s a positive and a negative,” said Blashill, who will serve as head coach of Team USA. “The negative is we’re not in the playoffs. The fact you get to coach in the worlds, the reason is you’re one of the coaches not in the playoffs. That part is what it is.

“The positive is it’s an unreal tournament and you get to stay in a real competitive environment for another month. It was an unbelievable experience (last year), certainly not as good as being in the playoffs, but it’s second to that.”

Larkin credited a fine performance in the world championship last spring to springboard into his best statistical performance, this season (16 goals, 47 assists, 63 points).

“Playing into May is what it’s all about. I’m young, I have a lot of energy and passion, and I want to keep on playing,” said Larkin, of the opportunity to play in the tournament.

Jensen, a defensemen, completed his second NHL season with 15 points (all assists).

Frans Nielsen (Denmark) and Martin Frk (Czech Republic) are other Red Wings players in the tournament.

Team USA has an exhibition game against host Denmark Tuesday, before opening the tournament Friday against Canada.