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3/16 Afternoon Delight GDT - Islanders @ Red Wings - 1:00 PM ET

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Notes: Larkin set to return versus Islanders [DetroitRedWings.com]


DETROIT -- It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Dylan Larkin.

After getting tangled up with an opponent, the Red Wings' best player started to experience pain and stiffness in his neck. He tried to play through it but it wasn't getting any better.

"I thought I was hurting the team, I wasn't able to turn my head, you know, full range of motion. I decided to take some time off and get it looked at further," Larkin said after Friday's practice at the BELFOR Training Center. "I had to go to New York to see a specialist and luckily it was nothing major or nothing that needed more attention or hold me back down the road, so lucky for that and now feeling 100 percent, feeling ready to play."


KUFFNER WILL PLAY VERSUS ISLES: After Friday's practice, recently signed college free agent Ryan Kuffner was unsure if he'd make his NHL debut Saturday afternoon against the Islanders.

But with alternate captain Justin Abdelkader missing practice while nursing a bruise from blocking a shot in Thursday's 5-4 loss to Tampa, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told reporters Kuffner will replace Abdelkader in Saturday's lineup.

Kuffner skated on a line with Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek and he also practiced on the second power-play unit with Michael Rasmussen, Tyler Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall and Nielsen.

He played the half-wall on the PP, which is a position he's familiar with from his college days at Princeton.


"Ultimately if Kuffner's gonna make our team better, he's gonna be a guy who's gonna score, who's gonna be a power-play type guy. We've got other guys who can penalty kill and be depth guys and stuff like that. So, let's put him in that position in see what he does. And it will be the same thing with Taro."

After his first practice as a Wing, Kuffner, an affable young man couldn't contain his enthusiasm.

"It was awesome. I think the biggest thing was just trying to get comfortable. Even in the laps, before even practice started, just trying to get the hands going. I think that's the biggest thing," he said. "At the end of the day it's just hockey. You're just getting thrown into the corners and up the ice. I've done it a million times the last 22 years. I think it's just about getting everything warm and just getting into the right mindset to just try to have fun and work hard."


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Just now, puckloo39 said:

Special day for Kuffner and his family.... Larkin is back... we might just do OK today, in spite of ... things being how they are.  LGRW!!!

I'm feeling good about this one! The sun is out (over here in PA and out there in MI), tomorrow is International Drink Your Ass Off Day, the Kuffner fam is in the house, New Captain is back. LET'S GO!!!

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