It didn’t affect Dylan Larkin this time, but the Detroit Red Wings captain can’t be blamed if he felt a bit of irritation at the lack of a call. Midway through the second period, Michael Rasmussen was the recipient of a crosscheck to the head. Rasmussen didn’t even get the courtesy of an “are you okay,” from Ryan Lindgren. For amateur lip readers, it was quite the opposite.
Many of those same words could be applied to a curious double standard that reared its ugly head Thursday night.
two days apart pic.twitter.com/znHFVek6gb
— blashdril (@blashdril) February 24, 2023
Larkin’s Penalty Tuesday Night Was the Right Call But…..
If the league is trying to crack down on hits to the head, then the five minute major assessed to Larkin was understandable. Unintentional? Surely. But a hit to the head is a hit to the head. The Red Wings were able to escape the five-minute major without any significant damage save one goal. But was it two or five? And if the latter, then it’s expected to be called consistently.
The irony here, of course, is that Larkin has taken his fair share of head shots. None bigger than the nasty shot he took from Jamie Benn two seasons ago that ended Larkin’s year. The hit, a direct shot to the neck, wasn’t whistled nor could the league be bothered to even chastise the hit.
— NHL Review (@nhl_review) April 23, 2021
Just a week ago, Larkin again was whacked in the head, and went right to the bench. Was it directly to the face? No. But it was absolutely a cross check to the head. Again, no penalty, nary a rebuke from the league.
Tuesday’s five minute major and subsequent $5000 fine from the league was one of those where it was understood, but curious. The cry from some perturbed fans were that if reverse, would Detroit get the benefit of the doubt?
That answer came quickly on Thursday.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) February 17, 2023
The Red Wings Have Every Reason to Be Aggravated
Following Lindgren’s hit on Rasmussen, there was a lengthy review of it but ultimately the two-minute penalty was upheld, and Detroit went on the power play.
Just as he was in complete agreement that Larkin was deserving of a five-minute major, Lalonde, while he was lobbying for five on Lindgren, gave the officials credit for the clear explanation they got regarding the Lindgren ruling.
“The ref did a great job communicating,” Lalonde said of the explanation he got about the two-minute call. “He just came over and said, ‘I know you’re probably frustrated, but we’re reffing what we see tonight and we’re calling it a two.’ Great job communicating it, clear as can be, good explanation. I’m satisfied with it.”
Again, it’s not easy making split second calls, especially in a game that moves fast. But the review was there, as well as the assumption that anyone in that position knows what occurred days earlier.
Yet the inconsistency continues. For a fan base that often uses the ‘Detroit vs Everybody’ moniker to describe its feelings, moments like these certainly seem to justify it. The lack of consistency from the league reaches far beyond Hockeytown, but with two nearly identical occurrences and witnessing two completely different calls, it’s a moment for the league to pause and reteach its officials how such hits should be assessed
There’s certainly no vast conspiracy against Detroit, but the league needs to figure it out. At some point the Red Wings, to paraphrase the legendary Twisted Sister anthem, aren’t going to take it anymore.
Then the league will really have a problem on its hands–and no one to blame but themselves.