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Ex-GM Brian Burke rips Dylan Larkin for All-Star Game comment

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Chicago —  Brian Burke doesn’t agree with Dylan Larkin preferring rest, rather than attending the NHL All-Star Game.

Burke, a Hockey Night in Canada analyst, didn’t hold back during his Saturday segment, criticizing Larkin for his preference to use All-Star weekend as a time for rest.

“Please don’t vote, I’d like the days off more,” Larkin said earlier in the week of being a possible write-in candidate for the Jan. 25 game in St. Louis. “There are great players in that group (of candidates). We have great fans, but I’m sure there’s guys more deserving to go. I’m fine with that.”

Hockey Night in Canada analyst Brian Burke criticized Red Wings center Dylan Larkin for his comment on the All-Star Game.

Larkin has played in one previous All-Star Game. He is having a sub-par season currently, with only 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 42 games.

Tyler Bertuzzi was selected as the Wings’ representative for the game.

Burke didn’t agree with Larkin’s opinion of preferring the All-Star weekend for rest.

"It's stupid," Burke said. "This kid is a good kid and he's a good player, but it's an honor to be a part of the All-Star weekend. It's a very important weekend for the National Hockey League and its sponsors and broadcast partners.

"You should get a speeding ticket on your way to the airport to fly to this game Dylan Larkin, and you shouldn't scoff at it like that.”

In the last couple of weeks, Washington star Alex Ovechkin and Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury have backed out of the game.

Former Wings Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg often skipped All-Star invitations.

"A player acquires the right to turn this down like Alexander Ovechkin, but that's after he played in about 12 or 15 of these. International hockey, all the other stuff he's done, all the playoffs,” Burke said. “Once you've done that, you can say no to this game. Otherwise, if you're voted in, get on a plane and keep your mouth shut."

Burke felt Wings general manager Steve Yzerman should talk to Larkin about the player’s comments.

Burke said if he was  Yzerman, he would've "gone down and ripped his face off" for the comments.

"If that was one of my players, I would say, 'How could you be that dumb in front of a camera.' If you're going to be that stupid, do it off-camera,” Burke said.

The fan voting for the Last Men in closes on Jan. 10. One player from each of the four divisions will be added.

Larkin was unavailable for any comment on Burke’s remarks Sunday, as the Wings didn’t have a morning skate.

Helping out

With defenseman Danny DeKeyser (back surgery) done for the season, Patrik Nemeth is one of the defensemen who have had to take on a larger role.

Nemeth is one of Yzerman’s free-agent signings last summer, namely to be a shutdown defenseman and key penalty killer.

Nemeth is averaging just over 22 minutes per game (22:02), only trailing Filip Hronek (23:27).

“He’s really had to jump into that role where he’s generally playing against the other team’s best (players) every night, and that’s a hard role,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s really had to shoulder that responsibility, (and) he’s done a good job.

“He’s a good defender, learning a little bit the way we want to gap in the neutral zone. He plays to win the hockey game. He just plays hard.”

Stay patient

A persistent Red Wings problem has been poor puck decisions and trying to make a play out of nothing being there.

It was a major issue in Friday's loss in Dallas, with Robby Fabbri and Madison Bowey both making errant plays with led to Dallas breakaways or odd-man rushes that resulted in goals.

Blashill wants the Wings to be patient with the puck.

"We work too hard to try to create offense. We work too hard to try to create offensive zone time to give away those easy chances," Blashill said. "It wasn’t like it was 100 times, but it was big (turnovers). We have to be OK with the game being 1-0 and 1-1. You can’t force things that aren’t there. If they are not there they are not there. You have to take what is given.

"That’s got to be something we just have to keep getting better at. We compete hard and we work hard, but we have to be sure to do a better job of not giving away easy chances."

Twitter: @tkulfan