Detroit Red Wings' Dylan Larkin emotional in return from family emergency

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Dylan Larkin’s voice was raw with emotion as he addressed his absence after a week away from the Detroit Red Wings.

“I had to be home for a family emergency,” Larkin said, after his first appearance in four games Sunday. “I had to be with my family. It’s a private matter.”

Larkin left the Wings after their Oct. 30 game at Toronto, missing games at Montreal, Boston and Buffalo. He was back centering the top line as the Wings topped the Vegas Golden Knights, 5-2, at Little Caesars Arena.

“It’s hard to put into words right now,” Larkin said. “It really is.”

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Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings looks on while playing the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Nov. 7, 2021.
Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings looks on while playing the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Nov. 7, 2021.

Larkin had an easier time talking about the victory, which improved the Wings to 6-5-2.

“It’s exciting,” Larkin said. “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.”

Ten Wings earned points, including rookie forward Lucas Raymond, who recorded his sixth goal and 14th point in 13 games. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider paced the Wings with just shy of 23 minutes of ice time. Raymond and Seider rank second and third on the team in scoring, respectively. They are a huge part of the reason the Wings are more fun to watch than the previous couple seasons.

“You could see it from the first day they got out there, they’ve been playing pro hockey, they know what it’s about,” Larkin said. "You have to show up every night. It was fun to watch Mo — him and (Alex) Pietrangelo kind of had a little battle going on, who could rush the puck, who steal pucks more — and Pietrangelo is one of the best defensemen in the league. I thought Mo was one of the best players on the ice. Lucas is dangerous, he’s someone that is just incredible to play with because he’s crafty and he’s going to get the puck to you.”

Tyler Bertuzzi scored into an empty net with 10 seconds to play for his team-leading ninth goal. He leads the Wings with 15 points even though he has missed three games because his unvaccinated status means he cannot play in Canada under current border regulations.

Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings during the national anthem prior to playing the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.
Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings during the national anthem prior to playing the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Larkin said. “People like to think of us as just figures and we all know Tyler made his own decision. People think it’s not hard on him. People think it’s not hard on us to live our own lives and make the decisions, but he stuck with it. He’s come to play every time he’s in the lineup and I couldn’t be more proud of him. When he’s been on the ice with us, he battles for us. He battles for his guys, his teammates. He’s one of my best friends. It’s great to see his confidence take off.”

It was as good a team game as the Wings have played since Oct. 27, when they rallied from two goals down to win at Washington. Larkin scored in overtime that night, and his return Sunday strengthened the entire lineup.

“Dylan is a big piece of who we are and our guys care about each other and they can tons about him,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I’m sure it was good from their perspective to have him back, it was from our perspective, too.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Family emergency kept captain Dylan Larkin from Detroit Red Wings