Derek Lalonde may not have deserved ejection, but here’s why it fired up Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Free Press

Bob Boughner joked that the reporters present were, “just as surprised as I am.”

It was Boughner, an associate coach, who spoke to media after Tuesday’s Detroit Red Wings game because he had served as head coach after Derek Lalonde was ejected midway through the 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars Arena.

“They couldn’t find the keys for Newsy,” Boughner said, smiling, “the cuffs are still on him in the back.”

Lalonde elected not to talk to reporters after getting tossed for arguing the call that made it 3-3. The Penguins were on a power play when the puck appeared to go into Detroit’s net, but it wasn’t until a video review after the next whistle that it was clear the puck completely crossed the goal line. The Wings challenged interference on goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, but after another video review officials ruled that no infractions occurred prior to Jeff Carter’s goal. That left the Wings killing a penalty for losing a challenge, and Lalonde, fuming.

His expletive-laden tirade earned a game misconduct.

“It was interesting,” Dylan Larkin said. “I think Newsy handled it well. He got out of there, he just kind of gave it to the assistants. I think it was pretty harsh what the conversation was, and I’ve seen much worse. So, that’s about all I have to say about that. I don’t really think he was deserving of being ejected, but it kind of fired us up and got us going, for sure.”

David Perron, who scored a hat trick in the third period, said that, “I didn’t really hear what happened, but it’s rare you see Newsy say too much. I don’t know exactly what happened.”

Boughner, who together with assistant coaches Alex Tanguay and Jay Varady, ran the bench the rest of the game, elaborated on the incident that got Lalonde a game misconduct.

“I was surprised,” Boughner said. “I was standing pretty close to him. Newsy is a very respectful guy and a well-liked guy, and respected in the league, and he has a good rapport with all the referees and the officials and linesmen. I was a little surprised, for sure, but, heat of the moment thing. For whatever reason, they made the decision to toss him.

“He was a little emotional about it. We all were. We thought that we made a great goalie interference challenge. I guess we are frustrated with some of the consistency that we see day in and day out with calls like that. It happens. It was a pretty important part of the game and got them back in, so it was frustrating that it didn’t go our way. But we moved on and I thought the guys responded well.”

Boughner, who served as head coach of the San Jose Sharks for three seasons prior to joining the Wings, said it was a smooth transition for the coaching staff, as he handles the defense and penalty kill and Tanguay and Varady the forwards and power play.

“We just kept our same roles and sort of worked together on the five-on-six situation at the end,” Boughner said.

The Penguins pulled their goaltender at 6-4, and Larkin completed the rout with an empty-net goal.

“We took too many penalties, but it was an emotional game and the emotions got the best of us at times,” Larkin said. “but we played well and got one on the power play at the end when it mattered.”

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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