Getting pushed around in an NHL rink isn’t a recipe for success, as the Detroit Red Wings were discovering late last season. Putting together a 7-1 run to get back into the playoff picture in February, the Wings were literally and figuratively run out of the building in back-to-back losses at Ottawa.
Building up more of a backbone in his team was among the offseason missions for Detroit GM Steve Yzerman. It didn’t take long for a Red Wings player to deliver on that promise.
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) October 17, 2023
Leveling Columbus forward Cole Sillinger with a punishing bodycheck in the third period of Detroit’s 4-0 road shutout of the Blue Jackets, Red Wings forward Klim Kostin then answered the bell after ringing Sillinger’s bell. He dropped the gloves and stood toe-to-toe with Columbus defenseman Erik Gudbranson, trading punches in a spirited bout.
Kostin wasn’t at all surprised that he was challenged by Gudbranson and was ready, willing and able to answer the call.
“The team that is losing by four goals, it is usually frustrating and they start playing like a little dirty,” Kostin told Bally Sports Detroit. “But we just can’t let that happen, can’t let them do it against us. We need to protect ourselves.”
It’s certainly a quality that wasn’t prevalent with the Red Wings for many seasons.
“We have not had that of late,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde told Bally Sports Detroit. “That was big. One, just to play that way. I love that he was so physical and then just to defend himself in the end.
“Not only big for tonight, but I think a big thing going forward, too.”
Kostin Feels Red Wings Must Measure Up
Added from the Edmonton Oilers via trade, Kostin towers over most opponents at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds. He was a playoff participant with the Oilers last season and fought five times during the 2022-23 NHL campaign. Kostin thinks he brings an element to the ice that can garner postseason success.
“Every team who wants to win the Cup, who wants to go deep in the playoffs, they need to have that character,” Kostin said. “There is no way you can play in the playoffs and be like a soft team.”