The regular season has finally kicked off for the Detroit Red Wings, and it’s been an eventful. Through just two games, the Red Wings are sending a message to the rest of the league: this isn’t last year’s team.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Last season, the Red Wings were team that tended to lie down for superior opponents, seemingly afraid to question their “authority”. The clearest example was Jamie Benn’s crosscheck to the neck of Dylan Larkin, which ended the season early for the team captain. Benn was able to skate away unscathed after the hit, with no retribution coming from Larkin’s teammates.
This year, the script seems to have flipped. While the team still isn’t nearly as talented as those at the top of the league (just look at Detroit’s blown three goal lead in the third period against the Lightning), they sure as hell aren’t going to let hits go unpunished. Larkin made that clear in the second period on opening night. After a crosscheck form Mathieu Joseph sent him flying headfirst into the boards, Larkin leaped to his feet and launched a right hook into Joseph’s face.
The rest of the game was a chippy affair, as the Red Wings refused to let Tampa Bay push them around.
Larkin was suspended for a game for “intent to injure”, but the team continued to fight on without their leader in game two. Filip Zadina was knocked to the ground after a hit to the head courtesy of Conor Garland. Michael Rasmussen stepped in for some revenge and tussled with Bo Horvat instead, sending both to the box. Robby Fabbri ultimately paid retribution to Garland, gifting him with a check and a slash. Tyler Bertuzzi and Fabbri were also pretty active on the bench, chirping and harassing the Canucks throughout.
Rookies Starting Strong
Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond have impressed through their first two NHL games. Seider leads the team in assists with three and has already shown flashes of excellent, high-level defensive play. He’s made some mistakes, sure, but he’s been given a pretty big role on a team still in the midst of a rebuild. Seider has also found some success quarterbacking the power play, illustrating his puck-moving skills to help create plays on the man advantage.
While he wasn’t too active in game one, Raymond looked special against the Canucks. He only has an assist to show for it, but there were multiple passes and steals that made Raymond look like an experienced NHLer. He already looks like one of the best playmakers on the roster, and it has been just two games.