Frank's 3 Takeaways from the Detroit Red Wings Opening Night


Well that was...a lot.

A lot of goals, a lot of excitement, a lot of fresh faces, a lot of fights, and it was capped off by a giant let down.

Yes, the Red Wings surrendered a 3 goal lead in the third period and basically melted down to lose the game 7-6 in overtime.

However, there were too many positives from last night to focus on the glaring negative. Remember, this was only game 1 of the season, and the Wings have a point on the board since they went to overtime.

Let's take a look at my 3 big takeaways from last night, starting with the atmosphere.

1. It Felt Different

I've been up in the Press Box for Red Wings games since 2018, and last night was far and away the loudest I've heard the building.

Sure, the usual games against Toronto draw a decent sized crowd that drive a sense of pride into Detroiters to show up and make sure Leafs fans don't take over the place, because they will.

But last night was different. It finally seems like we're at the point where you're paying money to see the roster that Steve Yzerman constructed. Long gone are the days of seeing Justin Abdelkader hopelessly try to keep up with the likes of Stamkos and Kucherov. Last night we saw the NHL debut of 2019 1st rd. pick Moritz Seider, and 2020 1st rd. pick Lucas Raymond. They're 20 and 19 years old, and they both already have their first career points.

The new era is here.

2. Much Faster

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 14: Tyler Bertuzzi #59 of the Detroit Red Wings scores a second period gaol past Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/GettyPhoto: Getty Images North America

The past couple of years, it was alarmingly bad how slow the Red Wings were compared to teams like Tampa and Pittsburgh. It was immediately apparent to me last night, that the roster got much faster.

There was a game in 2019 against Pittsburgh that I remember just laughing to myself in the press box at Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin just toying with the Red Wings. Just skated circles around them.

Not only did the Wings skate with Tampa, they had them on their heels!

Tyler Bertuzzi stickhandled through 2020 Conn Smythe winner, Victor Hedman, on his way to a hat trick and 4 goal performance.

So many of those chances are generated by speed and defensemen that can distribute the puck. Yzerman's acquisition of 2013 Stanley Cup champion (go Hawks) Nick Leddy will pay off in a big way having him paired up with Seider.

Obviously the defense needs to be better defensively, considering they gave up a total of 7 goals. They looked like they took their foot off the gas and were sloppy in their own zone at times.

But, considering half of the defensemen are under the age of 24, it's safe to say their best hockey is yet to come.

3. Ready To Fight

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 14: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings is introduced during the Detroit Red Wings home opener prior to playing the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory SPhoto: Getty Images North America

Here comes the controversy, let's talk about the Captain.

Dylan Larkin took a cheap shot to the back of his neck last night from Detroit's newest enemy, Mathieu Joseph. In case you forgot, Larkin's season ended from a neck injury last season.

Larkin retaliated by punching him with his glove on as Joseph skated by, and was ejected for game misconduct with intent to injure.

That's right, the guy who retaliated was charged with "intent to injure."

For many reasons, I think Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks is the quintessential hockey Captain. You should always keep your cool and let your teammates stand up for you in these situations. It's more important for Larkin to be on the ice than someone like Givani Smith, who looks to be the enforcer of this squad.

However, given the circumstances, I don't see anybody keeping their cool after that hit. Toews certainly wouldn't.

If Larkin stayed in the lineup, I believe Detroit hangs on to win the game. But he still has a lot to prove to the locker room that he's ready to step up and fight for them.

Message was sent loud and clear; Detroit will be a tough place to play.

Dylan Larkin now awaits a hearing with the NHL, expect something around 2-3 games suspension and a fine.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 14: Tyler Bertuzzi #59 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his second period gaol against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images North America

Still a lot to fix for this team, like closing out games.

But you can't dwell on the result of one game after so many positives.

I highly recommend attending a Wings game this year if you haven't in a while.

Tickets are relatively cheap this year, and with the looks of the young talent of this roster, soon that won't be the case.

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