Red Wings’ Larkin emotional after ‘best friend’ Bertuzzi traded to Bruins –

Under normal circumstances, talking about your new eight-year, $69 million contract extension is an unconditionally happy experience. But there were seriously mixed feelings for Dylan Larkin as he met with the Detroit media following his new deal with the Red Wings.

While Larkin’s signing was big news as he edged ever closer to becoming an unrestricted free agent, Detroit’s captain was asked how difficult it was to see core players Filip Hronek and Tyler Bertuzzi bagging deals for draft picks, even if the Wings linger in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

“Really difficult,” he said. “The position our team is in now hurts.”

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Speaking specifically about Bertuzzi, Larkin took a moment off the mic to collect himself as he reflected on a player he grew up on the wings being traded.

“He was one of my best friends,” Larkin said. “I’m surprised [about the trades]. The last 24 hours are among the toughest days [I’ve had] the business side of it. Excited, happy, talked to Tyler yesterday and [him] be happy for me [I] I saw him this morning and he was upset [about leaving] and so am I.”

Larkin acknowledged that it was nice to end the contract discussion and shift his focus solely to giving Detroit the wins it needs to climb into a post-season berth. At the start of Thursday night’s action, the Wings were five points behind the last wildcard spot in the East, and four teams had to overshoot to get it. “I can continue to focus on what I need to do to try and get this thing where the guys in the room want it,” he said.

Although Larkin was a little surprised by GM Steve Yzerman’s work before that deadline, he indicated that lines of communication were open during his contract negotiations and the Red Wings boss was very transparent about what he saw as a long-term plan. The Larkin organization — a native Michigan – grew up wanting to be a contender again.

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“We had a lot of conversations throughout the process,” he said. “We have [communicated] much more than I expected in a contract negotiation. I’ve always understood what the plan is and I believe in it.”

This is perhaps a little more difficult today than on other days.

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