Larkin, Yzerman surprised Seider on his 'very special night'


His parents weren't there, and their son made sure to remind them as he stood on stage in Tampa as the NHL's Rookie of the Year.

"Big shout-out to everyone who is sitting here. My parents couldn’t make it. They just got back from Croatia and they thought it was more important to go on vacation," Moritz Seider said with a smile after accepting the 2021-22 Calder Trophy at the NHL Awards Show Tuesday night.

But Dylan Larkin was sitting there. So was Steve Yzerman and several other prominent members of the Red Wings organization. Seider didn't know they were coming, which made their presence all the more special. He said Larkin surprised him by showing up about an hour before the show.

"And the whole organization flew down here. It’s really cool to see that not only your captain and your teammate has your back, but also the whole organization," Seider said. "I’m very happy Larks sat next to me. A really cool extra for a very special night."

It was three years ago to the day that Seider stood on stage as a Red Wing for the very first time. Yzerman had surprised him that night by drafting him sixth overall. Thinking back on it Tuesday, the 21-year-old dressed in a dark blue tuxedo with a black bowtie said he was "a little bit nervous, but more excited -- same with tonight."

"But I think I was a little bit more nervous (tonight) because when you dress up that nice and don’t get awarded, you might feel a little bit disappointed. So I was very happy to end the night on stage with the trophy," Seider said with another grin.

Seider is the first Red Wing to win the Calder since goalie Roger Crozier in 1964-65, and the first Red Wings defenseman to win it ever. He said toward the end of this season that he wasn't even thinking about the award, that it was an "unnecessary distraction" to finishing the year strong, that winning it would mean "nothing" because the Red Wings hadn't won enough as a team.

But he acknowledged the honor on Tuesday, mostly that he was proud to "give something back to Detroit" after Detroit had given him a chance.

"The trust Detroit gave me is huge," Seider said.

So the award is nice. So is ending a franchise drought. Next season, Seider would like to end a playoff drought that's going on six years, second longest in franchise history. He would like to give Detroit something more.

"Everyone is preparing themselves to be better next season, to prove more people wrong and to fight for a playoff spot," Seider said. "I think it’s time for us to give something back not only for ourselves but also for the city and the fans. We want playoffs at LCA."

Seider will have time this summer to reflect on what he achieved this season. He just won an award that eluded Yzerman, then Sergei Fedorov, then Nicklas Lidstrom, then Henrik Zetterberg, all of whom finished second for the Calder. He just etched his name into Red Wings history.

He said there will "definitely be a moment when you're sitting at home by yourself or with friends and you will be very happy about what you achieved."

"But other than that," Seider said, "it is more about the team. Sometimes it is good to reflect on your personal goals, but for us as the Detroit Red Wings, we want to build and push each other forward."

The team's captain was there Tuesday night. So was The Captain. They were there for the Calder winner, as the three of them set their sights on winning something bigger together.

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