Dylan Larkin may have been a diehard Red Wings fan growing up in Waterford, Mich. But the potential rookie of the year candidate admitted on Sunday his favourite player was a member of the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
In fact, he still is.
“I was a big Patrick Kane fan, actually,” Larkin told mlive.com. “I liked how he came through the NDP (National Development Program) and went to the OHL. He was a great player and obviously has been a great player for Chicago and Team USA as well. So I was a Patrick Kane fan and anytime Chicago was in the Stanley Cup (playoffs) I was pulling for them, but never against Detroit.”
Larkin will face Kane on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena — the second game of a home-and-home series with the Blackhawks. The two met for the first time Wednesday night as the defending Stanley Cup champions skated away with 5-2 victory over the Wings.
Kane — a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Olympic silver medallist — was humbled when hearing Larkin was his No. 1 fan growing up.
“It’s obviously pretty exciting to hear,” Kane added. “I guess that means I’m getting a little bit older now. I think it’s amazing the way these American players are coming up and what they’re bringing to the game. You look at guys like (Buffalo’s Jack) Eichel and Larkin, it’s pretty special the way they can skate and how they’re having an impact on the game at such a young age. It’s pretty amazing, too. USA Hockey is in good hands.”
Kane continues to have Hart Trophy worthy season, as the winger leads the league in scoring with 88 points in 66 games played.
While Larkin has been enjoying a breakout rookie season, he has hit a bit of a wall over the last 10 games with just one goal and a minus-7 rating during that span.
One could argue Larkin is starting to feel the effects of playing a full 82-game schedule, but he certainly doesn’t feel that way.
Coming from a much lighter NCAA schedule, Larkin says the gruelling NHL season hasn’t weighed him down.
“I don’t feel a grind at all,” Larkin told the Detroit News. “I don’t think it’s squeezing the stick, I hold the stick to play hockey and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Larkin said. “I’m not much worrying about it.”