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Notes: Frk reunites with Nestrasil; Abdelkader out

Larkin, teammates react to Larkin bobblehead

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - Having a close friend on your team is invaluable, especially when that friend has been through the same situation as you. 

That is what Martin Frk has in Andrej Nestrasil. 

Frk, the Wings' first pick in the 2012 draft, 49th overall in the second round, was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes on waivers on Oct. 9.

Nestrasil, the Wings' third-round pick, 75th overall, in the 2009 draft, was claimed by the Hurricanes in November, 2014.

"I messaged him the day before they put him on waivers and I said, 'Hey, I'm going to get the guest bedroom ready for you' and the next day they're like, 'Hey, do you know Martin Frk?' I'm like,'Yeah, he's one of my best friends.' 'We just claimed him on waivers,'" Nestrasil said after the morning skate Tuesday. "I was like, oh, that's great. It's always great to have another Detroit guy on the team. He's a really good guy, really nice guy."

Frk, 23, has played in just one game, Oct. 18 at Edmonton. 

Nestrasil, 25, knows what Frk is going through and is able to help him through this transition.

"Especially this period of time when you get claimed off waivers and you have this like, month tryout period before they're going to decide what they're going to do with you," Nestrasil said. "I've been in the same position and he didn't play the past three or four games, just trying to calm him down, be like, you're a good player, just do your job and when you're going to get the opportunity, show them what you've got and I'm sure they're going to keep you. But if they're going to keep you, you're not staying with me for the rest of the season, start looking for your own place."

Frk is getting his second opportunity tonight against his former team. He's on a line with Nestrasil and Jay McClement.

"It is great," Frk said. "We used to play together in Grand Rapids for a couple games, so it was kind of funny when you see the lineup. We want to play good. For sure you want to beat the Red Wings now. Hopefully we will be good and get the win."

Nestrasil said he's looking forward to it.

"Playing with him, he's got an incredible shot and I'm sure that if we can find him a couple times in the game, he can obviously put one in," Nestrasil said. "He proved it last year, he proved it this year in exhibition games."

Nestrasil says his bond with Frk extends even past their days together in Grand Rapids, but that's where it started.

"When he got to Grand Rapids, coach (Jeff) Blashill called me in and he said, 'Hey, Frky's a high prospect, can you take care of him, can you look out for him?' I said, 'OK, Blash, sure, I'll look out for him,'" Nestrasil said. "I got him to work out with the same people I do during the summer. Since he's an hour and a half away from Prague, I didn't want him to drive back and forth every day so he stays half of the week with me and half week back home. But for the past three years, I would say Martin Frk is the only guy who I'm going to be able to be roommates with. It just somehow worked out. He's just a good guy. He came to my house, did the dishes. I looked at his bedroom the next morning and the bed was done. I never do the bed. My girlfriend was like, 'That's what you should do.' I was like, you're just getting me in trouble here."

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters is no stranger to the Wings, having served as an assistant coach in Detroit from 2011-14.

"We got to make sure we get (Frk) enough minutes and we get him in some games so we know what we have at the end of the day," Peters said. "We've liked him. We haven't played enough hockey to get everybody involved. We're carrying 14 forwards, at some point we'd like to get down to 13-7-2 and have everyone where they need to be. So we got to make a decision on Marty, where he fits in. But we like him a lot. We'll see tonight. I expect it to be a good, effective line."

Peters made sure that the team took a photo as it's their only trip to Joe Louis Arena.

"I was wondering why," Nestrasil said. "I didn't know if he's got some friends in the building that want to take a picture. I thought we were going to play here at least one more game. But at the end, I was actually pretty happy. It's a special place, especially for me, playing my first NHL game here and pretty much grew up here the last six years so it was a special moment."

It will be a special moment for Frk to play at the Joe one more time.

"It's a great feeling coming back to the Joe," Frk said. "It was a long four or five years with the Red Wings so I remember the rink. I didn't play as many games here but our training camp was always here so it is for sure a special time for me here and also I can play the game tonight. I'm excited to play. I'm in the big league now, so I want to enjoy every moment on the ice and have as much fun."

NO ABDELKADER: Justin Abdelkader, who missed Saturday's game against San Jose with a lower-body injury, skated Tuesday morning but won't play against Carolina.

"Day to day," Blashill said. "Expect him to mostly likely be available Thursday but we'll continue to evaluate."

THE OTHER LARKIN: Dylan Larkin is only 20 but he's already got his own bobblehead, which will be given to the first 5,000 fans tonight.

Larkin said his family is excited about it.

"It's kind of crazy to have this," Larkin said. "In my room right now I have (Dominik) Hasek and Darren McCarty. Those are the two (bobbleheads) when I came to games that they had. They're pretty cool, I still have them in my room."

Riley Sheahan, Larkin's teammate and housemate, gave his opinion of the bobblehead.

"It resembles him a little bit, I guess," Sheahan said. "His hair isn't as nice, sometimes he has a bad hair day. If you could get the curls a little more curly, maybe it would be a little more accurate."

Brendan Smith liked the one he saw so much that he wanted to have one.

"The afro is definitely for sure, that's epic Larkin," Smith said. "But it looks good, it looks like him. It actually looks older than him. That's like a 25-year-old so he's still got like five years to go, I think. But no, it's good."

So what did Larkin think of his bobblehead?

"I think it looks pretty good," Larkin said. "I like it. Hair's kind of close. It's pretty good."

There was no fear among the Wings that Larkin getting his own bobblehead would inflate his ego.

"No, Larks is a good guy," Sheahan said. "I don't think he's going to let this bobblehead get to his head, so to speak."

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