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Detroit Red Wings

Larkin Out Two Weeks With Lower Body Injury; Veleno Moves Up



Dylan Larkin, Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings will play the next seven or eight games without captain Dylan Larkin, who suffered a lower body injury in the loss to the Florida Panthers.

Coach Derek Lalonde expects Larkin to be sidelined two weeks. “Probably have a better feel of his progress after the road trip,” Lalonde said.

The plan, for now, is to use Joe Veleno playing between Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. He will also get Larkin’s penalty killing time. Andrew Copp practiced with the power play.

“It’s probably going to be more minutes for Joe,” Lalonde said. “We slotted Joe between Cat and Kane today. Last time Dylan was out, Joe got into that 18 to 20 range, even got 21 one night. Probably increased minutes for the whole group. Good challenge for us. Everyone goes through injuries. We didn’t handle it very well last time Dylan was out. I think we’ll respond a little better this time around.”

Veleno Promoted

Lalonde said he’s going with Veleno in that spot because of his slick skating.

“Pace. He can skate,” Lalonde said. “You see when someone can have success with Cat and Kane, they just work better when someone is providing some pace for them. That was Dylan, and Joe has that ability to do so as well.”

Klim Kostin will draw into the lineup up front.  Or, Lalonde will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen  as the Red Wings start a four-game road trip Wednesday in Colorado.  Justin Holl comes in if the Red Wings go with seven defensemen. They will probably call up someone from Grand Rapids for the trip.

“Very comfortable with the 12 forwards we skated with in the practice today,” Lalonde said. “We wouldn’t be calling anyone up to go in the lineup, at least not yet. Probably a day to day type of feel.”

This is a challenging loss for the Red Wings to overcome. Although Detroit has  improved depth, Larkin drives the bus as team leader. The team is 2-4 without him this season.

Players Understand the Challenge

“He’s great down the middle,” Lalonde said. “By far our most minutes guy. One of the only guys who plays in all three situations — five-on-five, penalty kill and power play. He’s a driver for us. These are the bumps. If you want to stay in that battle, get over the line, you got to fight through some of these things, and this is our opportunity on this road trip.”

Lalonde thinks the Red Wings are in a better position to handle Larkin’s absence this time because of improved depth.

“When Dylan was out last time we were out two goalies,” Lalonde said, “we were out J.T. Compher, we were out David Perron, so we’ve been fortunate with our depth all year long and this will be tested again, and I’m confident in the group.”

Lalonde doesn’t need to address the team about what needs to be done in Larkin’s absence. They know the score. Eight games is two-fifths of the team’s remaining games.

“That’s a lot of games. We’re going to be battling,” Lalonde said. “Our message to the guys, all along if we were every going to stay in this fight, stay in this battle right until the end, everything is going to be difficult. At times it did feel difficult. Of course, we’re in it now.”