Larkin, Athanasiou both anxious for their first NHL outdoor game experience

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When it comes to being a professional athlete, you get to do some pretty cool things. Tonight, two of the young up-and-comers for our very own Detroit Red Wings will have their first outdoor game experience. Rookie forwards Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou are very anxious to be able to take part in the Stadium Series festivities that will get underway in Denver, Colorado tonight.

For Larkin, it is technically his second outdoor game experience, but his first at the NHL level. He participated in an outdoor contest when Michigan battled Michigan State at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois last season. While that outdoor experience was a pretty cool one according to Larkin, it seems that the game at Coors Field is even more so something the youngster is looking forward to playing in.

“I’m really excited,” Larkin said. “I was just talking to Double-A. I played in one last year with Michigan, but it was in Chicago and there wasn’t much of a crowd. I think it’s going to be awesome to look out and see all the fans. I don’t know how many the stadium holds, got to be close to 30 or 40,000. It’s going to be pretty special.”

On Athanasiou’s end of things, he’s had plenty of outdoor experience as a native Canadian, but nothing of this magnitude.

“You always go on the outdoor rinks or ponds and get a group of buddies and throw your sticks in the middle and set up the team,” Athanasiou said. “It’ll bring back memories.”

“I think it’s so exciting,” Athanasiou said. “You see the atmosphere there, you don’t get that every day, so it’s something you have to appreciate.”

Jeff Blashill was yet again doing some line juggling and Larkin and “AA” just so happened to be working with one another on the same line. Having two speedsters on the same line will surely create opportunities for quality scoring chances. Brad Richards was the third forward on the line and would likely center Larkin and Athanasiou. Richards would bring his veteran presence and someone the two rookies can feel comfortable with out on the ice. It seems like it could pay dividends if Blashill goes in that direction.

“(Larkin) has a tremendous skill set and that speed, too,” Athanasiou said. “We can be dynamic out there and Richie is a veteran, he’s so smart. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing with those two players.”

Whether or not this line combination actually occurs or not, it’s going to be an experience none of the Wings, let alone Larkin and Athanasiou will soon forget.

Petr Mrazek looks to be the goaltender that will get the nod to guard to pipes for Hockeytown. His goalie mask looks to have a little extra pizzazz, as it will be a whole new one he’s sporting tonight. It seems as that Mrazek will be paying homage to his mentor that he grew up idolizing in the Czech Republic, the great and former Detroit Red Wing, Dominic Hasek. Have a look for yourself:

Pretty slick.

The Colorado Avalanche welcome in the Wings as the Stadium Series game will get underway at 8pm tonight. Mid 70’s temps are expected throughout the day, that number will lower and hover between the mid 50’s and upper 40’s through the duration of the game. Let’s hope the ice holds up and that there really isn’t any disruptions in that regard.

It’s pretty cool when your team gets selected to participate in these kind of attractions in the NHL. The Wings have been involved in 2 Winter Classics to date and will play in their first Stadium Series game tonight. Be sure to tune in and cheer on the Wings!