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Helm's anxious to get going

Third line center hopes to play Friday against the Wild

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 3:14 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  -
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Helm\'s anxious to get going
Darren Helm hopes to bring some energy to the Red Wings' lineup as one of the best third line center in the league. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – It’s been a long, agonized layoff for center Darren Helm, who hasn’t consistently been in the Red Wings’ lineup since suffering a sprained knee last St. Patrick’s Day.

Since the knee injury in San Jose, it’s been one bad turn after another for the 26-year-old Winnipeg native.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Helm said. “From the end of last year to the lockout and even at the start of this year I started out hurt. I’m anxious to get out there, excited and when they give me the go ahead I’ll be even more excited.”

It’s expected that Helm will return to the lineup when the Wings host the Minnesota Wild on Friday night. It will be the first time that he’s been in the lineup since Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. In that he game, he suffered a serious cut on the right forearm, which required emergency surgery in Nashville to repair tendon damage.

Injuries continued to follow Helm into the lockout. In November, he was struck in the face by a puck, which fractured a cheekbone, during players’ workout. Then, a week before the Wings’ mini training camp, he had another setback when he injured his lower back.

But now, Helm hopes to put the bounty of injuries in the past as he gets prepared to make his season debut and hopes to provide a spark to the third line.

“I hope I can, it’s going to be tough,” he said. “I missed the last two weeks, but kind of started off where everyone else did, but two weeks late. The last four or five days I’ve been working real hard to get back into that shape. It’s not the same unless you get out there. Workout shape is a lot different than game-shape. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but I think I’ll be right back in there pretty quickly.”

Mike Babcock calls Helm the best third line center in the league. But the Red Wings’ coach knows that it will take some time for Helm to get up to NHL speed and regain that designation as an energy-provider.

“No question, we want Helmer to provide that, but Helmer hasn’t played hockey in eight months,” Babcock said. “So let’s have a little perspective. It’s not like he had all training camp and got tweaked at the end. He hasn’t gone, so he’ll be a work-in-progress.”

While Helm doesn’t expect that the cache of injuries will chance his style of play, he’ll now wear Kevlar socks and arm sleeves.

“I got it, been wearing it,” Helm said. “I don’t notice it. It’s kind of too bad I didn’t wear it before. That’s life, you live and learn. I’ve got a good scar to remind me to keep those things on. It’s not uncomfortable at all. It’s a little warm, but it took a couple of skates, but now it’s alright.”

Besides Helm, Babcock hopes to have forward Todd Bertuzzi (flu) and defenseman Jakub Kindl (groin) are ready to return to the lineup against the Wild on Friday.

“I’m hopeful of that. I mean, the trainers will make that decision,” Babcock said. “They all skated today. I skated them all yesterday myself. And then skated them again today. … Now they have to get ready to play.”

SPLITTING THE EUROS: Hoping to jump-start the Wings’ offense late in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Stars, Babcock separated the tandem of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

The European stars remained apart during Thursday morning’s practice at Joe Louis Arena as Zetterberg worked with Johan Frazen and Swiss import Damien Brunner, while Datsyuk moved to the second line and skated with Valtteri Filppula and Bertuzzi.

“They haven’t scored, right?” Babcock said. “You just can’t keep doing things the same, you know? They played together here today on the power play, they were apart on regular shifts, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80