Jakub Vrana Returns to Red Wings; Larkin Practices in Non-Contact Jersey

Winging It In Motown

In the midst of a 3-5-2 run that seems to be marred by as many injury losses as actual losses, the Red Wings finally got some good player personnel news on Friday.

Jakub Vrana has been reinstated from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Vrana has entered the “follow-up care” portion of the program, which means he’s eligible to play immediately.

Vrana practiced on Friday in a non-contact jersey, meaning he’s probably a long-shot to play in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Ottawa Senators. That’s not a major surprise, given Vrana hasn’t had time with the team since the Wings’ October 15th game against the Devils.

When he does return, Vrana should be a major boost for the Wings’ offense. Vrana has 32 points in his career 39 games with the Red Wings (including a goal and an assist in his two games this year) and has consistently been one of Detroit’s most dangerous forwards.

Meanwhile, Friday’s practice depended some potentially mixed news on Dylan Larkin’s status. The Wings’ captain skated in a non-contact jersey as well, and according to Daniella Bruce, was wearing a different glove on his injured hand. On one hand (no pun intended) it’s a good sign Larkin is skating, and would seem to indicate the hand injury that forced him to leave Wednesday’s game against the Wild isn’t as bad as it first appeared. However, the fact that he was out there in a non-contact jersey would give the indication that he may not be ready for game action by tomorrow.

Filip Hronek, who left Wednesday’s game after THAT hit from Ryan Reaves, was also practicing in a regular jersey, as did his familiar defensive partner, Olli Maatta. Maatta has missed the past week and a half due to an undisclosed illness. The Maatta-Hronek pairing has been the Wings’ most consistent pairing this season, and getting them both back at full-speed should help the Red Wings.

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