| The Detroit News
Detroit — The NHL appears inching toward announcing a start date for training camp and the regular season — and it can’t come soon enough for Dylan Larkin.
During a promotional tour Monday night, Larkin talked about his anticipation about getting the Red Wings’ season started.
“Absolutely, it’s been hard,” Larkin said, noting the Wings haven’t played a game since March 10, two days before the pandemic shut down the NHL regular season. “That’s probably an understatement with our team, it’s been hard for us because so we’ve been off for so long. We’ve been really quiet. But the hunger, a lot of guys are back in town and skating at (Little Caesars Arena), and guys are ready.
“It’s been a long time, a challenging time. You go through periods of motivation, you feel good and excited, and there was a (potential) start date of mid-October, I can’t even remember, and it got pushed back and it seemed to get pushed back and you get upset about it.
“It’s been harder mentally than physically.”
The Wings had the league’s worst record (17-49-5) last season, were outscored by a whopping 122 goals, only won five of 34 road games, and were near the bottom of every team statistical category.
But general manager Steve Yzerman addressed needs in every position group through free agency and trades this off-season — and might not be done yet — making the Wings’ roster much deeper and experienced on paper.
“The moves we’ve made, it’s exciting,” Larkin said. “Most of the guys we’ve added are skilled guys that can make plays and can play with the puck. As a player that likes to do that, too, it helps. I really enjoy it.
“Bobby Ryan (a free-agent forward signing) has been here for a month or two and he looks real good. He’s real skilled, he’s in great shape right now, and I’m excited to see what he can do with a full season. A lot of guys look good.”
The Wings are skating on their own, no coaches are yet allowed to run the skates, with 10 players per group, as directed by the NHL.
Goaltender Thomas Greiss, another free-agent signing, is part of Larkin’s group and has also been impressive.
“He looks real good, and him and (goaltender) Jonathan (Bernier) can really set the tone back there and steal some games.”
It’s a foregone conclusion to many analysts that Larkin will be named the next Wings’ captain, likely as early as this season.
But there has been mild speculation the organization might hold off on naming a new captain until a more normal season than this one promises to be, what with no fans at Little Caesars Arena and a shortened regular season.
Larkin, who has repeatedly stated it would be an honor to be the Wings’ captain, isn’t concerning himself with the debate of when to name a captain.
“If they do or don’t (name a captain this season) I’m still going to try to have one of the best seasons I’ve had as a Red Wing and put it all out there,” Larkin said.