In what’s becoming a common occurrence, when the Detroit Red Wings took the ice for practice on Friday, they did so minus captain Dylan Larkin. Both he and defenseman Filip Hronek are being consistently excused from on-ice practice sessions for what the team is calling maintenance days.
“We anticipate both being available tomorrow,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. However, Blashill did allow that giving Larkin these days off isn’t just a case of R&R.
“I think there’s wear and tear on players as you go through the course of the year,” Blashill explained. “Hronek and Larkin are dealing with some things ultimately that we and our medical staff most importantly, makes the decision if it’s best to provide rest on those days. Every day’s a little bit different, so it depends on how each guys feels.
“I didn’t go into (Friday) knowing for sure they’d be out or wouldn’t be. I knew there was potential and the medical staff says what’s best. There’s always the chance the medical staff comes to me (Saturday) and says rest is best. I don’t anticipate that but it might be the case. We take it on a day-by-day basis right now.”
Red Wings Milestone Watch
Both Blashill (200 wins) and forward Sam Gagner (500 points) were reaching NHL milestones in Thursday’s 3-1 win at Winnipeg. But there are other Wings on the brink of some marks as the season nears a close.
Assuming he suits up Saturday to face the Columbus Blue Jackets, Larkin will be playing his 500th NHL game. He’s four goals shy of 150 for his NHL career.
The next goal scored by Detroit defenseman Marc Staal will be the 50th of his NHL career.
In Case You Missed It
- Center Mitchell Stephens (lower-body injury) is preparing to return to the Detroit lineup Saturday following a 55-game absence
- The Grand Rapids may be facing pursuing an AHL playoff spot without the services of No. 1 goalie Calvin Pickard
National Hockey Network
Pittsburgh: The New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third time in two weeks and then Rangers goalie Igor Shersterkin mocked the Pens players as they were leaving the ice following a post-game scrum.
Boston: Charlie Coyle’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a huge 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
Florida: Forward Sam Reinhart is finally going to see action in the Stanley Cup playoffs during his first season with the Florida Panthers.
Vegas: Forward Max Pacioretty will be a game-time decision on Saturday. He’s missed the past 12 Vegas Golden Knights games due to an undisclosed injury.