Dylan Larkin punches Mathieu Joseph
(Screenshot/ Bally Sports Detroit)

Hockey is officially back.

Detroit Red Wings’ captain Dylan Larkin was ejected for intent to injure in his season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday evening. Larkin took exception to a dirty hit from Mathieu Joseph and appeared to sucker punch the Tampa Bay forward.

The play unfolded in the second period when Joseph drove Larkin into the boards from behind. The Red Wings captain retaliated by swinging at Joseph and dropping the gloves.

Larkin was given a match penalty on the play, while Joseph only received a two-minute roughing penalty. The Red Wings were leading the Lightning 3-1 at the time.

Larkin is taking matters into his own hands after he was injured on a cross-check by Dallas Stars’ captain Jamie Benn last season. The NHL didn’t issue any supplementary discipline to Benn. This was Larkin’s first game back after training all summer to get healthy.


Larkin’s action led to mixed reactions from Red Wings fans. Some Detroit fans loved that the captain stuck up for himself, but others felt the swing was unnecessary.

Larkin never hesitates to stand up for himself and his teammates. He’s also very protective of his body after suffering that neck injury last season. The injury forced him to miss the final eight games of the season.

The Red Wings and Lightning are developing a nasty rivalry. The Lightning are the reigning Stanley Cup champs, but the Red Wings had actually won three of the last five meetings entering Thursday night. Not bad for a team that’s clearly still going through a rebuilding phase.

Larkin’s swing was dangerous, but you love to see a player sticking up for himself.

Update: Dylan Larkin received a one-game suspension for his punch on Mathieu Joseph.