Every so often, the sports world gets a reminder that the athletes that are made into heroes and villains by the media and the fans are regular, everyday human beings. Sometimes it’s through being in the community, sometimes it’s through getting in trouble, and other times it’s… cringeworthy showings of teenage testosterone on YouTube? At least, that’s what we got with Dylan Larkin this weekend.
— Wings Nation (@thewingsnation) February 8, 2016
A video from 2012 popped up on Reddit late Saturday evening featuring Larkin and his friend Evan Giziniski in one of their basements, to have a “Snip-show”; as the millions of manchildren who call EA Sports’ NHL series “Chel”, teenage hockey players are completely and totally incapable of spelling and pronouncing basic words at more than a 75% accuracy rate. But there are so many other great things about this video, like…
- Larkin draping himself in the American Flag. The Michigan-born, Michigan-raised, Michigan-developed Red Wing already evokes more patriotism than just about any star player for this team in modern times; the fact he was practically a caricature of himself at the age of 15-to-16 is brilliant. The fake country-ish accent is a nice touch, as is Evan’s highly unnecessary CCM helmet, which I presume he forgot to call a Bucky at any point in the video.
- The Rally Cap. I don’t know why Larkin is wearing a rally cap. He didn’t declare revenge for against form of prior to the snip-show, but the inverted hat clearly has meaning. Maybe he broke his last stick, which would explain..
- The absolutely fondness they have for their “whips”. I’ll stick with sticks, but whips is a step below twig on the nickname scale. Maybe I’m just getting old though I would’ve been not significantly older than present-day Larkin when this video dropped. But Larkin talking about how much trouble he went through to find his stick of choice is great, as is Evan bragging about his wax-job. Larkin is still using Bauer to this day; as a stick loyalist myself, I wonder how he felt about being required to use CCM with the Griffins at the end of last year.
- I could do without the Patrick Kane love, though. Take the things he’s gotten in trouble for over the years out of this and you still have a star player for an arch-rival, Olympics or not. Then again, it’s not overly shocking that the God of Hockey Dudebros would be beloved by a couple of mid-teens climbing up the ladder (Gizinski played with Larkin up until Tier 1 before becoming a pro roller hockey player).
- “1-2-3 Let’s Have Fun” is typically adorable enough as it is when it’s changed by younger kids at a house league game, but the circumstances make it nothing short of amazing.
- Their shots, unsurprisingly, are pretty good. Seeing them completely mess up a few times is a nice reminder to kids out there of the virtues of practice, too. But man, the wooing after every half decent release is peak hockey bro. The little dekes to add flair are every bit as ridiculous as they would be useless in reality. Larkin blowing the “smoke” off his hot puck.. telling Gizinski he’s on fire after a couple misses (leadership qualities!), it’s all pure gold. Oh, and the jump celebration.. it speaks for itself.
- By the way: Larkin goes 11 for 14 in terms of hitting the net (78.6%) while Gizinski goes 9 for 12 (75%). Things to keep in mind: the net is smaller than regulation, they made “pockets” by crossing extra sticks (Larkin catches them in 5 of his last 7, Gizinski doesn’t get at all).
Basically, this is the best video I’ve ever seen. Well, close to it. It’s somehow cringeworthy, yet enticing enough to get you to watch it again and again. It’s proof that practice makes perfect, and it’s also a reminder that, sometimes, young talent has to grow up a bit; the Wings were lucky that Larkin got from D-Boss to Calder Candidate in four years, but sometimes, players require more patience.
It appears that Gizinski took the full video off of YouTube on Sunday, but I downloaded it and re-hosted it in anticipation. You can find it below.