Dylan Larkin: This season was one of the “most difficult years of my life”

Detroit's captain went through plenty of personal adversity this past season.



It was just three years ago that the Detroit Red Wings named Michigan native Dylan Larkin their team captain, and ever since hitting the ice as a fresh-faced rookie in 2015, he's grown up before our eyes into a consummate leader. 

During this afternoon's end-of-season media availability, the disappointment was palpable not only in Larkin's body language but in his voice. There's no doubt whatsoever - Larkin is hurt by the fact that his team barely missed out on a postseason berth, but was sure to say that he was proud of his teammates. 

"It's been a short time to reflect, but it's been a mix of emotions," he said. "Obviously, after the game was tough and yesterday was tough. But I was able to get together with the guys and our wives and maybe feel better; just sharing stories and talking about it. It's been hard, but there are so many good moments and memories of this season, and I'm very proud of this group." 

"I think we're much closer than we have been in my career. We missed the playoffs this year, I'd love nothing more than to win a championship, but we have to get in the playoffs, and it starts with that. I'm pretty sure I asked at some point for meaningful games in April, and we got that. We came up short, but now it's about how we get in, and then going from there. I would have loved to have that opportunity to be in the playoffs, but we gotta keep building this thing to get there and stay there, and ultimately that's up to Steve and his job to do what he feels is necessary to get us there and stay there." 

Larkin went through some extremely challenging situations this past season, both on and off the ice. Not only was he injured on two separate occasions and forced to miss several games, but he and his wife also experienced an unthinkable tragedy with the loss of their unborn child.

"It was probably one of the most difficult years of my life," Larkin explained. "I don't like to talk about it too much, and I thank you guys for respecting that. But there were times where I was going through it, and it felt like I needed space. The guys were so good to me, and maybe I wasn't able to be the best or be myself with all of the things going on.

But I think the guys were so good to me and my wife was very strong for me to allow me to come back and focus on hockey, and the last month just gave it all I had. It means a lot to me to be able to sit here and say that. I gave it all I had, and I hope it was contagious for the other guys."

Larkin, who played the first year of the eight-year contract he signed in early March of last year, scored a career-best 33 goals and was producing at a point per game pace. 

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