Red Wings’ Larkin keeps making case for Calder, undresses Devils’ Schneider for great goal

Jared Clinton
Dylan Larkin (Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Unlike some years, the frontrunners for the Calder Trophy this season are hard to pick out, but Detroit Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin is certainly trying to put himself front and center in the conversation. His goal Monday night will certainly garner some attention if there’s anyone who’s still sleeping on the 19-year-old winger.

Midway through the first period of Monday’s game, Larkin was beaten by New Jersey’s Jordin Tootoo, but the Devils winger lost the puck behind the net. That allowed Detroit to turn the puck up ice, and gave Larkin the chance to use his incredible speed to fly up the ice and get behind the Devils defense. Once he had slipped behind the defenders, Larkin took a perfect pass from Brad Richards and went in alone on New Jersey netminder Cory Schneider. Watch Larkin’s move to beat the Devils’ star goaltender: Read more

Jeff Blashill on replacing a rock star: “I believe I belong here”

Ken Campbell
Jeff Blashill (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

DETROIT – Jeff Blashill’s office at the Joe Louis Arena is spartanly decorated, but it’s interesting to note that on the shelf directly behind where he sits, there are pictures of Vince Lombardi and Abraham Lincoln. The former reminds Blashill what it takes to win, the latter reminds him of the importance of perseverance. But if you want to know what really makes Blashill tick, he suggests you read Desiderata, a poem written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann. The poem provides a guide for living well and includes the following passage:

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

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Why Sweden is the favorite to win this year’s World Junior Championship

William Nylander (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The reason the World Junior Championship is so fun is that in the past five years, five different countries have won the gold medal. That parity is a blessing to the tournament, but it also makes it difficult to handicap a showdown in which two teams with championship aspirations often meet in the quarterfinal, as Russia and the United States have done in the past two years.

But if we’re talking favorites for the 2016 installment, which kicks off in Helsinki on Boxing Day, I will take Sweden. And here’s my logic:

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Jimmy Howard absolutely robbed Alexandre Burrows with awesome glove save

Jared Clinton
Jimmy Howard robs Alexandre Burrows (via NHL/YouTube)

Thursday night, the Vancouver Canucks were shutout at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers and goaltender Steve Mason in a game which included Mason stealing a goal off the stick of Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. So what were the chances that the very next night another Canuck would have a golden opportunity turned aside thanks to some miraculous glove work? Slim, right?

Well, you would have thought so. Friday night, however, Detroit Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard made an incredible glove save to take what should have been the game-opening goal away from Alexandre Burrows. Before the midway point of the first, the Canucks were breaking into the Red Wings’ zone when Burrows made a tape-to-tape feed to Linden Vey. Vey wasted no time getting the puck on net as Burrows drove right towards Howard.

Vey’s initial shot deflected off the stick of Red Wings blueliner Niklas Kronwall, but the puck rolled right to Burrows tape with Howard well out of position. Nine times out of 10, Burrows is raising his hands and celebrating a goal, but Friday night, Howard got the better of Burrows with a spectacular glove stop: Read more

Dylan Larkin’s strong play shows Red Wings were right to rush him to the NHL

Ryan Kennedy
Dylan Larkin (Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Teenagers aren’t supposed to make the Detroit Red Wings.

It’s a pillar we rely on for comfort in this crazy hockey world of ours, and now Dylan Larkin, 19, is mucking it up.

But if he’s good enough for Detroit’s brass and good enough to start the season on a line with Henrik Zetterberg, then yeah, there may be something there. “He’s a two-way, 200-foot player,” said Detroit GM Ken Holland. “He has a lot of will, a lot of determination and he’s got a big motor.”

Larkin was the Big Ten’s rookie of the year last season, posting 47 points in 35 games for Michigan. A state native who relished the chance to play in Ann Arbor, the young center admitted it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the Wolverines after just one season. Having seen Larkin play so well at the world juniors, Team USA’s brass invited him to play for the men’s World Championship squad in the spring. “That was a whole experience itself,” Larkin said. “I thought I had a pretty good World Championship, and after skating with those guys, I knew I wanted to be a pro.”

Larkin played a checking role on a team that won a surprise bronze medal, shutting out Jakub Voracek, Jaromir Jagr and the host Czechs 3-0. For Holland, it was a tipping point: his shiny prospect proved he could thrive in any role. “I told Dylan and his parents that whatever decision he made, we were good with,” he said. “He’s a unique player for me in that he can play top-six or bottom-six. He’s going to be able to do lots of things that can be used by the coach.”

Perhaps lost is that Larkin is still eligible to play for Team USA’s WJC entry this winter. But it now goes without saying that he won’t be going to Finland. Through 28 NHL games, Larkin has 11 goals and 11 assists and is squarely in the discussion for the Calder Trophy.

In the meantime, Larkin is getting used to a world in which Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall are no longer guys he sees through a TV screen. “Ever since I can remember watching the NHL, they’ve been playing,” he said. “But it’s not as intimidating now that I know them a little bit. I’m excited to learn more from them.”

Too bad the University of Michigan won’t give him course credit for his work at Joe Louis Arena.

This is an edited version of a feature that appeared in the November 9 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.

 

On the 20th anniversary, a look back at the night that sealed Patrick Roy’s fate in Montreal

Patrick Roy. (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Twenty years ago today, Patrick Roy was unceremoniously dealt from Montreal to Colorado. His public humiliation in the game that led up to it and all the fallout that followed are the stuff of infamy.

This excerpt from ‘Patrick Roy: Winning. Nothing Else’ by Michel Roy is printed with the permission of Triumph Books.  For more information, please visit www.triumphbooks.com/PatrickRoy.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 11.43.36 AMBefore the game, former stars from the two clubs were introduced: Marcel Pronovost and Mickey Redmond for the Wings, Bernard ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion and Maurice Richard for the Canadiens. The Rocket received a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.

Then the whirlwind was unleashed. By the end of the first period, Detroit already led 5-1. Patrick couldn’t blame himself for any of the goals. Three of them were scored while the Canadiens were killing penalties, one of them with a two-man disadvantage near the end of the period, when Patrice Brisebois was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct while one of his teammates was already in the box. Every goal was a fine piece of work that Patrick was powerless to stop.

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Red Wings lose Pulkkinen, Miller for at least six weeks

Jared Clinton
Teemu Pulkkinen (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the hottest teams in the league over the past 10 games, picking up 15 of a possible 20 points, but not everything is going well in Hockeytown. After Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Red Wings will be without wingers Teemu Pulkkinen and Drew Miller for at least the next six weeks.

Pulkkinen was injured early in the first period of Thursday’s tilt with Arizona. While chasing a loose puck into the corner, Pulkkinen had his feet taken out by the stick of Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, who then crushed Pulkkinen into the boards: Read more

Mrazek shows off RoboClaus, Howard rocks ‘ugly sweater’ on great holiday masks

Jared Clinton
Howard Mrazek Christmas masks

Red Wings goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard have started their own holiday tradition. For each of the past two seasons, Detroit’s goaltending duo has had brand new masks come their way in time for the holidays with the idea being a limited run of use before the helmets are auctioned off. And this season, the masks are brilliant.

Anyone who has paid attention to Mrazek’s mask designs of the past won’t have a difficult time guessing at least one feature of the 23-year-old’s new lid. The ever-present picture of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin is front-and-center on Mrazek’s mask, but RoboGriffin — a cross between Detroit’s famed RoboCop and the cartoon character — is decked out in red mitts, has a great, white beard and is holding reins.

The reins play into the left and right panels of Mrazek’s mask, where a fierce-looking Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sits ready to take flight. On the chin is the stylized ‘D’ logo that Detroit wore in honor of the Detroit Cougars at the 2009 Winter Classic: Read more