After sitting out Saturday night’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks due to a one-game suspension, Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin is glad to be back in the lineup with his teammates. However, he did admit to the media on Monday that he was wrong for punching Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph for a hit from behind in the opening game of the season.
“It was an unfortunate play — the whole thing,” Larkin told members of the on Monday, via the Detroit Free Press. “I really felt Joseph could have let up. He had enough time to see my numbers and make a different decision.
“I was very much disappointed in myself after, and disappointed for the team. But I also think enough is enough. I’ve been through some tough times and I just felt a pain and immediately thought, here we go again. I got up and reacted and I’ll deal with the punishment. I dealt with the punishment. I’m very eager to move on. I’m very relieved it wasn’t anything serious. I served my suspension and am ready to get back out there.”
Larkin and Joseph have reportedly made amends, texting each other after the incident as they both try and move on from it. Larkin was suspended by the NHL on Friday, forcing him to miss the Red Wings’ game on Saturday night in which they beat Vancouver 3-1.
“The one-game suspension I think was warranted,” Larkin said. “Hits like that happen, you have to do something different to try and fight him or whatever. It was too aggressive. I lost my cool for a split second.”
Larkin did suffer a major injury last April though when he was required to spend eight weeks in a cervical hard collar after a brutal hit in the spine from Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. When Joseph hit Larkin into the boards during the season opener, it sparked flashbacks and aggression from Larkin.
“It was a tough six, seven 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 golf all summer; I couldn’t go golfing. Couldn’t go on boats.
“I don’t want to have a sob story. That went through my head quickly. Maybe I thought about what if something happens, I’m going to do something about it. But I can’t act like that. I can’t lash out like that.”
The 25-year-old has spent his entire NHL career in Detroit with the Red Wings, after signing a three-year entry-level deal in May 2015. He was drafted by the club with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft but opted to play college hockey with the Michigan Wolverines prior to signing with Detroit. The Red Wings officially made him their captain earlier this year in January.
The Red Wings will look to move on with their captain back in the lineup as they fight to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.