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Helm is in lineup tonight in Buffalo

Monday, 10.12.2009 / 3:30 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Helm is in lineup tonight in Buffalo
DETROIT – Tuesday will be four weeks since Darren Helm suffered an AC sprain at training camp in Traverse City, Mich.

Then, the original diagnoses called for 2-4 weeks of rest and treatment for the 22-year-old center, who had already nabbed a roster spot with the Red Wings.

Doctors were right on as Helm will make his 2009-10 debut with the Red Wings, who play the Sabres tonight at Buffalo's HSBC Arena.

“It was weird,” said Helm, of sitting out since Sept. 15. “It’s just a different feeling and there wasn’t a whole lot that I could do. I wasn’t feeling a part of the team. But the last week or so I’ve been around more and practiced with the team and the excitement level is getting back to where it was before I got hurt. Emotionally, it was a little bit depressing, but now I’m excited to get going again.”

While Helm indicted after Monday’s practice that he’s ready to return to game action, coach Mike Babcock wasn’t sure if Helm would be inserted into Tuesday’s lineup.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Babcock said. “I think he’s ready to go and we’re going to have to decide. If Grand Rapids was playing today he would be playing in Grand Rapids today. But because they don’t play until the weekend – it’s always nice to get a few games under your belt – but we would like to get him in, so I’ll think about it and let you guys know at the (morning) skate tomorrow.”

With the loss of four forwards from last season’s squad – and now the injury to Johan Franzen (knee) that will sideline him until at least February – the speedy Helm is one of the guys that the Red Wings hope will pick up the offensive slack.

“I think I can play; I’m ready,” Helm said. “We did some battle drills today and it’s all good. No pain. … It feels pretty good and hopefully they’ll say ‘OK’.”

COMFORTS OF HOME: Since returning from Sweden, Babcock has been pleased with how well his team has responded over the last two games – both 3-2 wins over Chicago and Washington.

“The last game was our best game,” said Babcock, referring to Saturday’s victory over the Capitals. “It was the first time that we skated like an NHL team since we’ve been back. We gave up an early goal, yet I didn’t think it affected us very much. We just kept playing, which is important.”

After giving up nine goals in two losses to St. Louis in Stockholm, the Wings (2-2-0) limited the high-octane Caps and their two-time defending Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin to two goals. The Capitals had gone 11 straight regular-season games with three-or-more goals, dating back to a 3-2 loss to Toronto last March 24.

Babcock credits goalie Chris Osgood for part of the Wings’ turnaround since the team’s return to North America. The Wings’ coach has also taken notice of Osgood’s improvement from this time last season.

“It’s night and day,” Babcock said. “He didn’t play as good as he played the other night one time in the first half last year. Good for him and good for us. We’re going to have to play real well without the puck to have success this year, and a big part of that is goaltending.

“We’ve played well the last couple of games. We didn’t give up that much and I felt that Ozzie bailed us out the game before.”

The Wings begin a stretch of three games in five days with a road tilt in Buffalo (Tuesday), followed by a pair of home dates with Los Angeles (Thursday) and Colorado (Saturday).

Osgood will get the start against the Sabres at HSBC Arena where he has a 4-1-2 career record and 1.75 goals-against average.

“You ride him when he’s going real good,” Babcock said. “So in saying all of that, there are 82 games on the schedule and Ozzie’s going to play about 50 of them and (Jimmy Howard) will play about 32 of them.”

The Sabres (2-0-1) will be a challenge. They lead the league in shots on goal per game (38.7); fewest shots allowed (66); and fewest goals-against (three).

“Tomorrow, we’ll be tested. Buffalo’s playing well,” Babcock said. “They’ve given up two goals in regulation, so they’re going to be a problem for us and we have to be ready.”

NEW COMBINATION: On Saturday, Babcock put together a line of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. It worked perfectly against the Caps top offensive line of Alex Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin.

Bertuzzi adds some obvious size to the line, but it may be too early to see how well this new combo will work as the Wings try to find an offensive solution for Franzen’s absence.

“He’s a big guy who can really hold onto the puck,” said Zetterberg, referring to Bertuzzi. “He’s really good in tight areas and when he gets a chance he’ll put them away. By holding onto the puck more, it creates some room for us, so I don’t know if it’s because of is size, but I think it’s more about his skill level.

“It will take some time before I get a feel for it. It all depends on how it goes in the games. From one game to a week, it’s tough to say, but we’ll have to wait to see how it goes in the games.”




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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