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Red Wings Blashill: Can’t Guarantee Larkin Will Play Saturday



Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings player
Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin missed practice Thursday with what was termed a maintenance day.

Noticeably absent from practice Thursday was Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin.

“Yeah, maintenance day,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill explained of Larkin’s absence.

With his next words, Blashill set off alarm bells throughout the Red Wings faithful.

“He was questionable for last night,” Blashill added. “I can’t sit here today and say for sure he’s playing Saturday [against the Toronto Maple Leafs].

“I don’t know that, but we felt it was best to keep him off today.”

On Tuesday, Larkin left the ice late in practice while the team was working on power-play drills with an undisclosed ailment.

However, Larkin was able to answer the bell in Wednesday’s 5-2 home-ice loss to the Colorado Avalanche. He collected an assist – his 200th in the NHL – to extend his scoring streak to eight games. Larkin has amassed 16 points over that span.

Larkin Leading The Red Wings

Larkin leads the Wings in more ways than one. He’s Detroit’s top goal scorer with 26. He’s also accounted for a team-leading 53 points.

More than that, he’s the heart and soul of this team. Larkin is willing this club to heights certainly not anticipated in any preseason prognostication. Detroit is ninth overall in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, albeit 10 points in arrears to the eighth-seeded Boston Bruins.

“We know where we’re at in the standings,” Larkin said after Wednesday’s setback. “We know that we have to do a lot of work to catch them.

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“We’ve got to get on a run here and we gotta do it pretty quickly.”

Launching that run without their captain leading the charge, it would be unfathomable to consider that the Wings have any chance of completing the mission. He is the linchpin to all that they do. The Wings without Larkin would be like a bun without the burger, a car minus the engine.

Prior to coming to Detroit, first-year Red Wings forward Carter Rowney skated alongside two of the most respected captains and competitors in the NHL in Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf.

“I think those guys, they lead by example” Rowney said. “You can see their work ethic day in and day out and in how they take care of themselves. On the teams I’ve been on, the elite players, that’s what they do best.”

Rowney slots Larkin in right alongside them in terms of his leadership and commitment to excellence.

“He does it exceptionally well,” Rowney said. “You can see his work ethic on the ice but off the ice as well.

“You always looked at Dylan as an all-star in this league. Everything that’s he got this year, he deserves.”