DETROIT – Dylan Larkin is definitely turning some heads in the last month.
The Red Wings’ rookie is proving that he belongs in the NHL, having already produced three goals and eight points in 11 games, good enough for fifth among the league's rookie scorers.
The skill that this 19-year-old possesses has been clear from the start. He’s an exceptionally strong skater and sees the ice far better than the average playmaker, all while maintaining an intensity and work ethic that is second to none.
However, it seems skill goes only so far with Larkin, who draws motivation from contemplating certain words and phrases throughout the morning and afternoon of game days.
He's no Jack Handey, though during last Saturday’s win at Ottawa, Fox Sports Detroit cameras got a glimpse at the words ‘skate skate skate’ written in black marker on the white tape atop Larkin’s Bauer Nexus.
“Last year I wrote it on my stick but I always say it to myself too,” Larkin said. “It started probably when I was young. My dad used to say it to me.
“I remind myself throughout the day. It’s just to get into the right mindset.”
Little reminders go a long way for Larkin, who said he found inspiration in quotes and sayings painted on dressing room walls at the University of Michigan as well as the U.S. National Development Team Program.
In Ann Arbor, where Larkin finished his lone collegiate season last spring, phrases attributed to legendary football coach Bo Schembechler, among others, are commonplace throughout historic Yost Arena and other athletic facilities on campus.
“Yost was more tradition and pride,” Larkin said. “ ’The team, the team, the team’ was a big one. All the history was there. The NDTP was big into it too. Every day you’d go down the stairs and it said ‘Take responsibility for your own development’ and you’d tap it. It was a good reminder.”