Helmet slam typifies Dylan Larkin's frustration with himself, Red Wings
Detroit – The scene pretty much typified Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to Montreal for the Red Wings, another low point to what's becoming a forgettable season.
Dylan Larkin, fresh off a scrap with Montreal’s Brett Kulak, storming through the hallway to the locker room, throwing his helmet down, in equal parts anger and frustration.
It all boiled over there, with five minutes left in the game. The Wings' young leader, reacting to an ugly evening.
“I was frustrated with what happened there,” said Larkin. “I didn’t know what that guy (Kulak) was doing, if he was angry about the little slash I gave him a couple shifts before. It’s pretty ridiculous. I just tapped him in a 7-1 game and he comes after my head.
“I wasn’t happy abut that. And the effort there, (and) myself. The way it’s been going – it all added up there.”
Larkin earned a 10-minute misconduct and was mercifully done for the night. The rest of Larkin’s teammates were not.
They played on, though not very well or with much intent, and the final score was indicative of the game.
Neither Larkin, nor his teammates, had any logical explanation for the lack of effort, lack of passion, against the Canadiens.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Larkin, who was one of several players who used that word with regularity after the loss. “We’ve been saying it for too long, too many times coming in here in front of you guys and in front of our fans. They pay money to come watch us play.
“We have to have pride.”
It’ll be interesting to watch how the Red Wings react to this embarrassment – with 18 games left in the schedule and the losses mounting. Many young players are in leading roles, and there will be opportunities for them to show they can play significant roles.
That wasn’t the case against Montreal, though, which was discouraging, from both young and older players.
“It was straight-out embarrassing,” forward Frans Nielsen said. “Whatever position you’re in the standings, you still have to go out there and compete. You’re going to have good and bad nights, but the compete level, it has to be there every night.”
The Wings are winless in six games and head off to Arizona and Colorado for a quick two-game road trip beginning Saturday.
An inability to play a full 60 minutes has been an issue during the winless streak. That has to change.
“Let’s be honest here, we haven’t been able to put together a 60-minute effort for quite some time now,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who spoke passionately after the loss, a look of disbelief and disgust on his face. “You can’t hide from the fact we haven’t been playing very well.”
Trade deadline blues?
Because Nick Jensen and Gustav Nyquist were popular teammates, there was some thought the Wings were affected by post-trade deadline blues.
But the players weren't buying it.
“You would think it would be the other way around,” Kronwall said. “The last few days have been hard in their own way, but it’s part of the business. We lost a few guys that meant a lot to the guys in the room. But we just have to play. We weren’t even trying."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard has failed to complete a game for three consecutive starts, but he has had little defensive help.
“It went in our net too easy, (but) not from a goaltending perspective," Jeff Blashill said after Tuesday night's game. “We gave up stupid chances out of nowhere. I don’t know if we’re fragile or not but we have lots of games left and we better pick ourselves up.”
… Defenseman Trevor Daley (back) was a late scratch for Tuesday’s game, and Blashill didn’t know if Daley would be available for the road trip. Jonathan Ericsson, who was expected to be a healthy scratch, replaced Daley.