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Helm's notoriety begins to climb

Team USA names Rafalski alternate captain

Monday, 01.11.2010 / 3:19 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Helm\'s notoriety begins to climb
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DETROIT – Folks are beginning to take notice of Darren Helm’s game.

The high-energy speedster scored three goals with an assist on the Red Wings’ recently concluded West Coast trip, which included a game-winning tally in the final seconds at Los Angeles last Thursday.

“I’m impressed with Helmer all of the time because he plays so hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s scored more in the last couple of weeks, so he ends up with more notoriety, but his line has been very good with him, (Patrick) Eaves and (Kris) Draper, pretty much since they got put together.”

Helm has scored five goals in the last five games. While his hot streak isn’t surprising, the question remains: What happened to his first 55 regular-season games when he registered three goals?

If fairness to Helm, he’s never really been known as a goal scorer, even during his junior days at Medicine Hat. His game is more uptempo, a kind of seek-and-destroy guy, if you will. He does a lot of the dirty work and goes places, like the corners, that many scorers would prefer not visit.

A great example of Helm’s hard work came against the Kings and defenseman Sean O’Donnell. As Helm battled for the puck in the corner, the Kings’ 15-year veteran knocked the Wings’ forward to the ice. Helm got to his skates, regained possession of the puck, and made a dash to the Kings’ net, and slid a shot that beat the netminder five-hole.
“That was probably the biggest situation-goal that I’ve scored so far this year,” said Helm, who has eight goals and six assists this season. “It was a big goal with very little time left in the game, so it was really exciting and a very good feeling.”

Helm missed the first four games of the season with an AC sprain suffered at training camp in Traverse City. But since returning to the lineup, he has turned increased minutes into productive results in virtually every situation, including face-offs, where he’s been successful 56.1 percent of the time.

“I’ve kind of struggled on face-offs, lately,” Helm said. “It’s the one thing that you always have to be prepared for; it’s just those little battles that you’re going to have in a game about 15-20 times that you have to be at your best at. It’s tough, but it’s something that you just learn over time to be more consistent.”

Players like Helm and rookie Justin Abdelkader have had advanced roles this season, mainly because of the overwhelming number of injuries sustained by key members of the Wings’ roster.

While Helm doesn’t take anything for granted, he knows that improvement is essential to his NHL success.

“I still have to work on my defensive game, I think,” he said. “I think it’s pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement.”

CAPTAIN AMERICA? Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski learned over the weekend that he would not be the captain for Team USA. But as a consolation prize, the Dearborn, Mich., native was selected as one of four alternate captains that the Americans will use in the Vancouver Games next month.

USA Hockey announced on Monday that New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner will wear the ‘C’ for the USA, which begins Olympic play with a preliminary game against Switzerland on Feb. 16.

“It’s such a short tournament that the leadership of the team is going to have to see that things are addressed quickly, keep the team focused, and make sure that we don’t let emotions over-take situations in what we’re trying to do,” said Rafalski, who at 36, is the oldest member of the American squad.

Rafalski will be joined by Devils forward Zach Parise, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown as alternate captains.

“All of these players have played in the NHL for some point, so they’re not rookies, though it may be their first Olympics," Rafalski said. "Hopefully it will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the locker room. I think these guys will be fired up and ready to go."

The Red Wings play the first of three Eastern Conference foes when they travel to Long Island, N.Y. for a match with the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday.

While Babcock is happy with the Wings ability to take six out of a potential eight points on the four-game trip out west, he knows that it’s no time to relax.

“We can’t afford to dip though,” Babcock said. “We’re playing an Islander team that is 6-2-1 in their last nine and their young guys skate well. We have to be prepared for that and obviously, it’s a big time of year for us.”

Rookie goalie Jimmy Howard will get his ninth straight start in net on Tuesday. He is 16-9-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average.




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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