DETROIT — The difference between Andrew Copp today and where he was a year ago is the difference between a clean bill of health and still recovering.
At this time last season, Copp was still feeling the impact of offseason core surgery.
“Yeah, just more pop to him,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Those core surgeries, they’re just tough to come back from. If you asked him, he probably feels pretty healthy, and traditionally throughout his career, he’s thrived real well on the wing. ”
Playing on the right wing on a line with Michael Rasmussen and J.T. Compher, Copp scored a pair of goals and received his second penalty shot in as many games. Copp has five points in his first four games. More importantly, he seems to be playing at full throttle. He was moving with purpose when Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang hooked him a breakaway. Tristan Jarry thwarted him on the penalty shot, but Copp added an empty netter at 18:28 that gave the Red Wings breathing room.
For all those asking, we can confirm Jamo was rocking that #9 with Gordie on the back. 👊 https://t.co/UYYepBajmE
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 19, 2023
“He’ll still play a ton of center but we love his versatility,” Lalonde said. ” I think the play of Veleno, with his good start, and how much we trust (Austin) Czarnik, has been able to give us a look at him on the wing and it’s been pretty good.”
Copp is definitely feeling healthy this season. That was his first two-goal game in a Red Wings’ jersey.
“Even like the play that led to the penalty shot,” Copp said. “I think you saw some explosion and speed and I think if I tried to do that last year I would’ve been out 6-8 weeks. You just get confidence from training. I feel like I do a lot in the summer and I gain confidence from that. Shoot a lot of pucks and it just changes your whole mindset when you’re able to push and push and push, instead of playing to survive.”
Larkin the Enforcer?
Captain Dylan Larkin is tied for the team lead with seven penalty minutes after taking a fighting major and tripping call at the end of the second period against the Penguins. He squared off with defenseman Marcus Pettersson. At one point, Larkin took a swing and missed. He lost his balance and fell to the ice.
Less than a minute later, Moritz Seider tussled with Evgeni Malkin. Seider got a minor for roughing and Malkin received a double-minor for roughing.
“Larks gets fired up out there for sure,” Copp said. “Obviously Mo feels like Sid and Geno are two of the guys he likes to go after. I think you’ve seen the buy in from everyone.”
The Red Wings want to be tougher this season, although they probably would prefer those key players refrain from doing the heavy lifting.
“I like it,” Lalonde said. “Obviously, we’re not built like that. We’ve added some pieces. We have a little more pushback. We’re much bigger, a little more suited for that this year. Just have a pack mentality. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your teammates. That’s that it looks like sometimes.”
This and That
Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams, who caught a critical TD pass in last Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was in Little Caesars Arena to trigger the goal horn at the start of the game…Defenseman Erik Karlsson scored his first goal as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also posted a pair of assists…The Red Wings now have multiple power play goals in three of their four games this season…