Big relief for Detroit Red Wings as Dylan Larkin, Filip Hronek all game-time decisions

Detroit Free Press

In addition to welcoming Jakub Vrana to Friday’s practice, the Detroit Red Wings were relieved to see Dylan Larkin and Filip Hronek on the ice.

Both are game-time decisions for Saturday’s matinee against the Ottawa Senators — and is good news for the Wings given what happened earlier this week.

Hronek left Wednesday’s game for concussion protocol after a big hit by Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Reaves. Dylan Larkin left Tuesday’s game after getting hit in the right hand area by a puck.

“It was encouraging,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “Going into practice, didn’t know if he would be able. We’ll see how he responds.”

More:Detroit Red Wings’ Jakub Vrana on last 2 months: ‘Some things are bigger than hockey’

With no morning skate before the 1 p.m. game, Lalonde said both players’ availability will be determined after warm-ups.

“That is a positive from where we were a few days ago,” Lalonde said.

Olli Määttä also practiced after missing four games recovering from pneumonia, and sounded questionable about being able to play Saturday.

Having Larkin and Hronek miss no games – or maybe one, as Lalonde seemed a little less encouraged about Larkin’s immediate availability than Hronek’s – is huge for a team that has endured as many absences as the Wings have. Vrana was placed in the players assistance program Oct. 19; Tyler Bertuzzi missed a month, came back, and is now out again through mid January, both times after breaking a hand; Filip Zadina was projected to return in 6-to-8 weeks from an early November lower-body injury. Robby Fabbri is projected to return in January after recovering from off-season knee surgery.

“As much as it has been a grind, and at times at little demoralizing with the amount of injuries we have had,” Lalonde said, “today was positive, for sure.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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