Hockey Heckler Unsure How Much to Target 19-Year-Old Dylan Larkin

One fan said she’d love to “pinch his little rosy red cheeks.”

While watching the Penguins vs. Red Wings game Thursday night, Pittsburgh fan Don Middlesbury was reportedly uneasy about heckling 19-year-old Red Wings star Dylan Larkin: A young, likeable player whose career Middlesbury described as “such a sweet story, almost like a fairy tale.”

“He totally slashed our guy in the second period, and the refs didn’t even see it! What a good-for-nothing asshole,” said Middlesbury after a “questionable” non-call. But Middlesbury then went on, “Well, maybe I should be a little nicer. My son is only 21 and that’s two years older than Larkin.”

With Larkin’s arrival, members of the Red Wings organization have noticed similar hesistance from hecklers. Longtime Zamboni driver Al Sobotka said “Of course, the away crowd always boos when our players do well. But there is something different about Larkin. Maybe it’s his boyish charm and feel-good story. I mean, the kid plays alongside Henrik Zetterberg, his favorite player growing up. I get emotional just thinking about it.”

ESPN analyst Barry Melrose tried to explain the difficulty of truly laying into Larkin. “Take that really tough game the Blackhawks had against the Red Wings earlier this season. Chicago fans were ready to give Larkin what they felt he deserved. But then I think something changed. How can you get that mad at a kid who’s living out his dreams?”

At press time, however, Red Wings haters were continuing to feel no remorse heckling other players, despite acknowledging that other players are also technically “achieving their lifelong goals of playing in the NHL.”

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