The Detroit Red Wings are living up to the slogan ‘Detroit vs. Everybody’ through the first two games of the 2021-22 regular season.
Whether you want to use Tom Petty’s, I won’t back down, or Twisted Sister’s, We’re not going to take it to describe the Red Wings; both apply.
We have yet to see if the Detroit Red Wings are finally ascending from the basement of the NHL, but after two games to begin the new season, the organization seems to have a different buzz around it.
In the first game of the season, the Detroit Red Wings lost captain Dylan Larkin for retaliating after receiving a dirty check from behind that could have caused a serious injury. Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph blew up Larkin from behind, and the Red Wing captain gathered himself and punched Joseph in the face with his glove on after a penalty was failed to be called on the play. Larkin would be assessed a five-minute major penalty on the play and ejected for ‘intent to injure.’
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill mentioned after the game that Larkin certainly felt the need to stand up from himself if the officials won’t protect the players; perhaps the league would need to revert to the old days and have the players police themselves.
The league later slapped Larkin with a one-game suspension for his actions but failed to punish Joseph. Larkin eventually ended his evening at the hospital with an injury. Hopefully, it is minor, and he did not reinjure his neck/spine that cost him the final few games of last season from a vicious cross-check at the hands of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. There was no penalty on that particular play, either, and Larkin spent all summer rehabbing from that issue.
The bad news; the Detroit Red Wings held a 6-3 lead in the third period of Thursday’s season opener against the Lightning but couldn’t seal the deal, eventually losing 7-6 in overtime. That third period had a ‘Wings of old’ feel to it.
The Detroit Red Wings were forced to police themselves again Saturday evening.
Saturday evening, even forced to play without their captain, the Detroit Red Wings edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-1.
The contest was another physical game for Detroit. Head coach, Jeff Blashill’s club initiated the contact and was clearly playing with a chip on their shoulder after what endured in their first game of the season and how the contest ended.
The officials seemed to constantly call offsetting penalties after every scrum and seemed to wonder why the temperature continued to rise. In the game, Nick Leddy was buried behind by Vancouver defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and forward Givani Smith took exception.
It’s clear after what happened to Larkin on Thursday; the Red Wings players are going to stick up for each other moving forward.
That wasn’t the last of Ekman-Larsson either; later in the game, he speared Red Wings rookie defenseman Moritz Seider in the groin. Again, another teammate took exception to the cowardice act, this time Tyler Bertuzzi. Furthermore, there would be offsetting penalties assessed on the play.
Then midway through the third period Red Wings forward Filip Zadina took a shot to the head that appeared like an elbow live, and a scrum ensued. The Red Wings have had enough and are willing to fight for one another, and that is a good thing. The call on the ice was initially a five-minute major penalty but, upon review, reduced to a minor penalty for a hit to the head.
The truth is, Zadina left himself vulnerable and didn’t take an elbow to the head; and instead, he took the brunt of the contact from Garland’s backside to his head.
Blashill is still being forced to deploy not only an undermanned group with Jakub Vrana and Troy Stecher injured plus without Larkin but also a team that is short on overall talent, but they are playing hard for their coach early on in the season.
Despite being heavily outshot over the first two games, the Detroit Red Wings have earned three of a possible four points, so we will take it. Next up for Detroit is Columbus on Tuesday evening once again at Little Caesars Arena.