Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin felt he got what he had coming to him from the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety.
“The one-game suspension was warranted,” Larkin said Monday. It was his first public comment since the NHL ruling came down.
Dylan Larkin sat out the Red Wings’ 3-1 win Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks. He wasn’t healthy enough to practice on Friday. Larkin practiced on Monday. He will play Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The suspension was for Larkin’s gloved punch against Tampa Bay Lightning player Mathieu Joseph. The Larkin swing was in response to Joseph running him into the boards from behind. Larkin slammed headfirst into the boards. The referee didn’t call a penalty.
“When hits like that happen you got to do something different to try to fight him or whatever,” Larkin said. “I think it was too aggressive and kind of lost my cool for a split-second. But I was very much disappointed in myself and disappointed for the team. But I also think enough is enough. ”
Dylan Larkin Had Tough Offseason
Larkin spent eight weeks in a cervical collar in the offseason after he was injured late last season on a blow to the neck by Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn.
“… it was a tough 6-7 months,” Larkin said. “I had some tough nights and I wanted to do something about it so bad. There was so much anger. My buddies asked me to go golfing all summer and I couldn’t golf. I couldn’t go on boats. I don’t want to have a sob story. That went through my head quickly.”
With no penalty called, Larkin decided to act as his own policeman. It’s an old school approach: a player fights back to discourage the aggressor from doing it again.
“Felt Joseph could have let up,” Larkin said. “I felt that I cut him off to the puck and he had long enough time to see my numbers and make a different decision.
Joseph, in his fourth season with the Lightning, and Larkin have made their peace.
“Mathieu Joseph reached out to me, texted back and forth,” Larkin said. “That was nice of him. He apologized, I apologized, and I said, ‘Let’s put in the past,’ and that’s what I’d really like to do with all of this.”
The Red Wings players went out of their way to stand up for each other in their win against Vancouver.
“It’s important. I feel it in the room,” Larkin said. “I feel it with the guys. We’re there for each other. We have each other’s backs.”