Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin returned to the ice after taking a week off for a family emergency. He missed games in Montreal, Boston, and Buffalo. But his comeback seemed effortless and boosted the confidence of the team.
The Wings were playing the Vegas Golden Knights at the Little Caesars Arena.
During a press conference, Larkin talked about what kept him away for the last few days. Without going into details, he explained there was a situation with his family that needed to be taken care of. He did not disclose what happened.
"I had to be home for a family emergency. I had to be with my family. It's a private matter."
When pressed about what happened, the centerman continued to ask for privacy in regards to this matter. He told the press that at this point, he is still processing what happened, and he needed some time.
"It's hard to put into words right now. It really is."
After the Wings won the game, there was plenty to celebrate. The team's record, 6-5-2, remained intact, and the players seemed to gel once again with their captain back at the helm.
Ten players scored or assisted with points. Thomas Greiss helped with 38 saves. All of that helped the Wings win the game, 5-2.
Larkin was ecstatic about the win during his press conference; he enthused about how great it felt. The team lost four games in his absence, only winning the game before his return.
"It's exciting, We played hard. Thomas Greiss was incredible. That second period was probably our best stretch of hockey there. We had a ton of chances, had a ton of offensive zone time. We back-checked hard. I think we just outworked them and got rewarded with two huge points at home."
With Larkin's return comes an exit of sorts. Joe Veleno, who had played in Larkin's absence, was reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Though, as many noted, he played in the game last night.
He was called up to play with the Wings for the Maple Leafs game. Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman carpooled with him to the arena. Veleno had an assist and goal that night. This seems to have raised his stock in the organization.
Wings coach Jeff Blashill seems high on the former first draft pick. He told reporters that one day Valero would be one of the starting players for the Red Wings.
"There's going to be a time when Joe plays for us this year. I would bet on that,"
He went on to say that while Veleno is with the Griffins, for now, it's only because they have big plans in store for the young player. Management wants him to be placed in important roles for the franchise.
"If he wasn't going to be in our top six, maybe you could make an argument in the middle-six somewhere (at the NHL level), we wanted him to be in really important roles. We want to make sure Joe's feeling really confident and that he's playing at a really, really high level and continue to develop the offense. I don't know what Joe's offensive ceiling is. I know he can be a really good third-line player. I know that, I believe that. But can he be more than that? We're hoping so, and he's hoping so. He wants to be."
With Larkin back and Veleno having a bright future with the Red Wings, fans are turning their sights to bringing the Stanley cup back to the Motor City. It's been 13 years since the team won the cup, and many are hoping that this is the year it comes back to Hockeytown.
The Red Wings next play the Edmonton Oilers in a home game.