Dylan Larkin saga marks one week, captain won't play in Buffalo tonight
Buffalo — The saga concerning Dylan Larkin is reaching a week long, with no apparent end in sight.
Coach Jeff Blashill said after Saturday's morning skate Larkin was unavailable for the game against Buffalo.
It will be the third consecutive game Larkin will have missed for "personal reasons".
Larkin played last Saturday in Toronto, the opening game of this four-game road trip, but was not on the ice for Monday's practice in Montreal (the Wings had a complete day off that Sunday).
The Wings' organization has been mum on what is keeping Larkin away from the team.
Blashill said Saturday he has been in contact with Larkin, but wouldn't get into specifics of the conversations, nor would Blashill discuss his personal conversations with general manager Steve Yzerman regarding Larkin.
“I don’t see any reason to talk about our internal discussions on any of it,” Blashill said. “I understand it’s hard for you guys not to have answers, but he’s missing for personal reasons and we’ll leave it at that.”
Larkin remains on the 23-man roster, said Blashill.
The loss of Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi (unvaccinated, missed the two games in Canada) has contributed to the Wings' lack of offense during this trip, and a resulting four-game winless streak overall (0-3-1).
But Blashill added it's up to the rest of the lineup to raise their games.
"Dylan is an engine for us, Tyler is an engine," Blashill said. "They’re two of our best players. The degree to which you miss guys always depends on the degree to which guys that are in those spots, how good they play.
"If the 12 forwards that are dressed are playing their 'A' game, you don’t feel the loss nearly as much. If they play their 'C' game, you're going to wish you had Dylan in the lineup. That's just the reality."
Forward Lucas Raymond and defenseman Moritz Seider are among the rookie offensive leaders statistically, and both are among the early favorites to win the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year).
The play of both young players has been a pleasant development for the Wings, but Blashill wouldn't say if they've exceeded expectations.
"I don't necessarily place expectations on guys that haven't been able to do it yet in the league, not that they won't or will, but until you prove it, you wait and see," Blashill said. "I don't get too wrapped up in the expectations side.
"They've both done a good job. They've both had quality ice time, good opportunity and they both have done a good job with that.
"We're going to push them to do an even better job."
Defenseman Marc Staal was expected to be in the lineup, said Blashill, after not skating Friday.
"We anticipate Staal will be available, but we'll see," Blashill said.
... Defenseman Gustav Lindstrom (lower body) will miss his sixth consecutive game Saturday. He hasn't played since getting hurt October 24 in Chicago.
"We're hoping he's getting closer to being back, ready to play," Blashill said. "I don't know if it'll be (Sunday), or Tuesday, but he's getting closer unless he has a setback."
Golden Knights at Red Wings
►Faceoff: 6 p.m. Sunday, Little Caesars Arena
►Outlook: Vegas made a huge addition Friday, acquiring C Jack Eichel (neck) in a trade with Buffalo. Eichel is having surgery this week, and will not be available until the second half of the season...This will mark the end of a four-game road trip for Vegas, who played Saturday in Montreal...G Robin Lehner (4-5-0, 2.89 GAA, .915 SVS) has been an early standout for the Golden Knights, along with C Chandler Stephenson (10 points in 10 games).