Dylan Larkin being evaluated

Dylan Larkin being evaluated

The Detroit Red Wings currently find themselves fighting for their playoff lives in the Eastern Conference, as they attempt to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2016. After five consecutive seasons of missing out on the dance, they are desperate to get back. However, they may have suffered a serious blow on their trip to the west coast, with captain Dylan Larkin going down in Anaheim against the Ducks at the Honda Center.

It remains to be seen when exactly he will be able to return to the lineup, but he did not participate in the team’s optional practice at the SAP Center on Monday in San Jose. The 26-year-old Tyler Bertuzzi also missed the Red Wings’ practice on Monday as well.

“He’s going through some further evaluations,” Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill said, via mlive.com. “Right now, I can’t say if it’s day-to-day or anything (longer) than that. I don’t know that answer. Once I have more information, I’ll let you know.”

Larkin went down in the first period against the Ducks on Sunday evening, but was able to finish the period and play three more shifts before ultimately being shut down for the night. If he is forced to miss any time, his absence will certainly be a big blow to Detroit.

“We’d like to take the game to the opponent,” Blashill said. “In the last three road games we’ve gotten one point but in two of those games we out-chanced the opponent by a good amount and I think you normally win those games, the Carolina game (5-3 loss on Dec. 16) and the Anaheim game. We weren’t able to get the two points, but when you play like that consistently, I think you will. It’s definitely way better than it was the night before in L.A. (4-0 loss). You can’t have efforts like that in the first against L.A. But overall, I thought it was the type of hockey we need to play to be successful.”

Larkin did miss some time earlier this season, but it was only four games. The 25-year-old has been with the Red Wings organization for the entire duration of his professional career after the club drafted him with the 15th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He was named the team’s captain in January 2021 and continues to be a big presence for the club both on and off the ice.

It remains to be seen whether the Red Wings will have to figure out a way to play without their leader, but they could be in trouble if they do. Larkin leads the team in goals and points with 16 goals and 16 assists, so it will be a significant void to try and fill, especially if Bertuzzi is also out of action. Bertuzzi has 16 goals and 10 assists and if they are both missing the Red Wings’ playoff chances could take a real hit. Both Detroit players and fans are just hoping neither injury is very serious and both will be back in action sooner rather than later.