Dylan Larkin, Lack of Pushback Responsible for Red Wings Slide

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Detroit Red Wings snapped their seven-game losing streak with a win against the Buffalo Sabres. Amid this streak the team lost their best player and captain Dylan Larkin to a lower-body injury. Prior to this streak and Larkin’s injury the Red Wings were in a playoff spot. The Red Wings franchise has not made the Stanley Cup playoffs in seven seasons. The lack of pushback by the Red Wings team without Larkin is concerning for a team with playoff aspirations.

Larkin has scored 26 goals and added 28 assists in 55 games played during the 2023-24 NHL season. This is the second most goals scored for the captain of the Red Wings in his nine-year NHL career. During the 2018-19 season, Larkin scored 32 goals and added 41 assists in 76 games played. The Red Wings finished that season with a record of 32-40-10, which was good enough for seventh place in the Atlantic division. The Red Wings team has come a long way under Larkin but have not made the playoffs.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the Red Wings have had to play without their captain this season. Larkin was knocked unconscious after being hit from behind by Mathieu Joseph of the Ottawa Senators. Ben Chiarot, who came to the defense of Larkin on the play, would be suspended for six games for hitting a defenseless Artem Zub on the play. Larkin would miss four games due to the injury. In that time, the Red Wings went 1-3.

General manager Steve Yzerman did not add anything to the team’s roster at the trade deadline. Klim Kostin was the only player that Yzerman traded, being sent to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Radim Simek. Perhaps the Red Wings dressing room saw this lack of activity as Yzerman not believing in them. Prior to this losing streak, Patrick Kane said, “It’s all on us,” regarding the playoff push. The Red Wings have not taken this message to heart, seemingly feeling defeated once they fall behind in games lately.

Two players on the team showed some frustration at practice the day after the team lost to the Sabres. Lucas Raymond and Chiarot came together during a recent practice and needed to be separated by the other players on the ice. When asked about this, head coach Derek Lalonde said, “You have a very hard meeting, obviously very disappointed with the road trip, and you’d like to see a little response in practice, and obviously that happened today.”

The situation between the two seemed to be buried as Chiarot came to the defense of Raymond during a game against the Arizona Coyotes when Josh Brown went after David Perron. Raymond would score the only goal as the Red Wings lost by a score of 4-1. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, Raymond seemed to be the only player on the ice that played with any pushback. This has been an alarming trend during the Red Wings’ seven-game losing streak.

“It’s not just Larks,” said defenseman Chiarot said after the loss to the Coyotes. “Defensively, you see the chances we give up, the breakdowns that we have. When we’ve been playing this year, those chances aren’t happening…That’s what I see. I see too many chances given up. Puts too much stress on what we’re trying to do defensively. It’s costing us.” Chiarot is one of the veteran defensemen who was brought into the Wings’ room in July of 2022 to

The Red Wings were in position to make the Stanley Cup playoffs prior to Larkin’s lower-body injury. In the time that he has been injured the team has had a lack of pushback. This cannot continue as the team builds toward not only making the playoffs but eventually becoming a contender to win the Stanley Cup. Having to contend with the Florida Panthers, who are also in the Atlantic Division, who have players that like to get under the skin of their opponent. This type of player is something that is missing from the Red Wings’ roster.

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