Red Wings' Dylan Larkin to miss remaining seven games on schedule
Detroit — It’s not a shock given where the Red Wings are in the schedule, but forward Dylan Larkin will miss the rest of the regular season, all seven games that are left.
Coach Jeff Blashill said Larkin’s upper-body injury, suffered during Tuesday’s loss in Dallas, will force Larkin to sit out the remaining two weeks of the season.
“Dylan will miss the remainder of the season,” Blashill said Friday. “He will be re-evaluated in a couple weeks and probably ongoing from there, but he will miss the remainder of the season.”
Larkin was injured during a skirmish during a faceoff late in Tuesday's game with Dallas forward Jamie Benn, who appeared to cross-check Larkin near the upper body.
Larkin, the Wings’ captain, is tied for the team lead with 23 points. He has nine goals and 14 assists in 44 games, with a minus-14 rating.
Larkin joins forwards Tyler Bertuzzi, Bobby Ryan and Frans Nielsen, who are all out for the remainder of the season with injuries.
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“I don’t think you replace guys like that, certainly not by one individual,” Blashill said. “Dylan is a huge piece of our team. He’s our captain. He drives our engine with his work ethic every day, both in practices and in games.
“But as you saw (Thursday), guys understand that just means collectively our competition level has to be elite every night, our work ethic has to be elite every night. We have to be a real good defensive team. Obviously, there are other guys on this team that can score and that was illustrated last night. We don’t expect to score seven goals every night so we have to make sure we’re great defensively.
“It gives lots of opportunity to different people.”
For all the talk about forward Jakub Vrana and his four-goal game Thursday, Richard Panik, the other forward acquired in the trade that sent Anthony Mantha to Washington, also had a role in the Wings’ victory.
Panik scored his first goal as a Red Wing, showing determination in getting to the puck after fluttering a shot toward goalie Anton Khudobin, winning the race to the crease and nudging the loose puck past Khudobin.
“He’s the one that lobbed it up in the air and won the race back to the net,” Blashill said. “He stayed on it and scored. It’s a bit of a lucky break that the goalie didn’t cover it, but you get lucky breaks when you do things right.
“He did it right by winning that puck battle to begin with.”
There’s still no definitive word on when forward Joe Veleno will be cleared and make his NHL debut.
Veleno arrived from Sweden, where he’d been playing, earlier this month and finished his seven-day quarantine.
Veleno has been skating with the Wings, but he might not be completely cleared from the concussion/whiplash symptoms he suffered late in the Swedish Hockey League season that caused him to miss the last two weeks of that season.
Veleno could still play in Grand Rapids before he plays for the Wings this season. But days are dwindling in both leagues.
“A number of factors will play in that, including the (Grand Rapids) Griffins’ schedule, our schedule and where he best fits when he’s ready to play,” Blashill said. “Do I think that he’ll have an opportunity to play for us? I do, but I don’t know that 100%, so I’m not going to commit to that.”
Stars at Red Wings
►Faceoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
►Outlook: The Red Wings (17-25-7) and Dallas (19-15-12) conclude this rare four-game, regular-season series. …The Wings are 2-3-2 against Dallas this season and 1-1-1 this week.