Believe it or not, Dylan Larkin is now in his fifth season with the Detroit Red Wings and he has continued to improve his game each and every season.
This coming Friday, Larkin and his Red Wings’ teammates will be in Edmonton to take on the Oilers for the first time since former Wings’ GM Ken Holland left the Wings.
On Thursday, Larkin was asked about Holland and Larkin praised his former general manager for motivating him to be the player he is today.
From Detroit Free Press:
“Ken had a great impact on my career,” Larkin said Thursday. “He was very approachable. He was almost like a father figure. He treated all of us like one of his kids, with care, but also he knew when he had to be stern and teach us to make us better players and people and he did. Sometimes you didn’t like the way he said it or how you heard it, but it was in the best interest for you personally and for the team. I appreciate that in him the most. It’s a great quality in him.
“Everyone talks about the culture of the Detroit Red Wings, and Ken is the guy that built that. He made it a family environment and somewhere you see guys from other teams come in and they say, ‘wow, what a great group of guys, what a great atmosphere around the locker room,’ and Ken was a big part of that.”
Larkin pointed out that Holland once called him a soft player that that drove him to get better.
“He didn’t like the way I was playing,” Larkin said. “He thought I was too soft and a perimeter player. I didn’t like hearing that. No one would like hearing that. But maybe it was the wake-up call I needed. He wanted me to have a big summer and become stronger and faster. It helped a lot and I think I will always remember having that conversation with him. I always thank him.
“I do root for him. Ken is such a great guy, guys want to play hard for him. He will be successful anywhere he goes.”
Larkin has improved his scoring over the past three seasons and he is on pace to do so again this season.