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Glad Tidings for Red Wings: Larkin May Play vs. Ottawa, Hronek is OK



The Red Wings are counting on Dylan Larkin staying healthy and producing a 60-point season
Injured Dylan Larkin will be a game time decision before the Red Wings play the Ottawa Senators

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings, a team that has been battered and bruised by bad luck this season,  were reinvigorated Friday by a wave of good fortune,

In addition to Jakub Vrana returning to the team, captain Dylan Larkin was able to practice with a non-contact jersey. Meanwhile, defensemen Filip Hronek and Olli Maatta were full participants.

“It’s a huge positive,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “I don’t know who’s playing or what we’re looking
at.  But we weren’t far removed from all of those guys potentially being long term. As much as it’s been a grind, and a times a little demoralizing with the amount of injuries we’ve had, today was a positive for sure.

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Larkin didn’t play Wednesday in Minnesota because he injured his right hand when he was struck by a shot in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

He wore a special glove on his right hand in practice and handled the puck sometimes in competitive practice drills. The Red Wings haven’t revealed the extent of his injury.

Larkin’s Status Game-Time Decision

The Red Wings play the Ottawa Senators Saturday at 1 p.m.. That means the determination of his playing status will occur without another practice or skate.

“He’ll probably be a game-time decision, which is a positive obviously from where we were a couple of days ago, Lalonde said.

Bertuzzi is in his second long stay on the injury list because he was hit in the hand by a shot. Filip Zadina has also had lengthy stay because of a shot-blocking injury. Elmer Soderblom also missed a month when he was hit on the leg.

The Detroit fan base was certainly concerned that Larkin would be sidelined for an extended period when he didn’t return for the third period against Carolina.

“It was encouraging,” Lalonde said about Larkin’s work at practice. “Going into practice I didn’t know if he was going to be able to practice. After seeing a lot of reps in today, we’ll see how he responds from practice. We unfortunately don’t get a morning skate tomorrow. There’s going to be a lot of gray area on a lot of guys.”

Hronek Practiced Fully

The concern over Hronek came after he was run over by a high hit from Minnesota Wild tough guy Ryan Reaves. The Wild forward blasted Hronek with a heavy hit in the first period and he didn’t come back. But he looked alert and functional in practice.

The Red Wings are being cautious with Hronek, but Lalonde sounded like he expects him to play Saturday.

“We’ll see how he responded (to practice),” Lalonde said. “Even after the game I think he felt good. He actually was disappointed he was unable to return in the Minnesota game, which was the right thing to do but a good sign for
him, too.”

Maatta is coming back from illness and his playing status is more up in the air. Likewise, there’s no timetable for Vrana.