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Helm, Franzen catching on after injuries

Secondary scoring is beginning to come around for the Red Wings

Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 1:52 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant |
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Helm, Franzen catching on after injuries

DETROIT – Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Darren Helm
Center  - DET
Goals: 5 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 7
Shots: 20 | +/-: -2
For coach Mike Babcock, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Babcock has been lobbying for secondary scoring this season, and Darren Helm and Johan Franzen are giving him just that. Although both players have been limited by injuries this season, they have made an immediate impact since returning to the ice.

After missing 18 months of hockey due to injuries, Helm made his return to Detroit’s lineup in early November, scoring the game-winning goal in a 5-0 victory over the Oilers. The center has recorded seven points in the 11 games he’s appeared in, and is currently on a three-game scoring streak.

“Some good bounces, some good luck, some good linemates,” Helm attributed his recent success to. “I don’t really try to change anything in my game I just kind of play the way I always do and I don’t really think about any of that.”

Franzen didn’t miss nearly as much time as his teammate, having sat out four games with a back injury, but fed off Helm’s energy when he returned to the second line.

“I think coming back from injury I got to play with Helmer and Tatar and you know he was really hungry to come back after missing all those games and I was hungry coming back so we probably fed off each other a little bit and playing with him is pretty easy,” Franzen said. “He has really great speed and he gets a lot of pucks, win pucks in the corner so he’s easy to play with and creates a lot from just being fast and he started out, his first game had a breakaway and scored on that and of course gave him confidence.”

After recording five points in the first 13 games of the season, Franzen has scored eight points in seven games since returning from injury, including a three-point performance against Washington in mid-November. The right wing has also scored four points in the past five games, and his secondary production hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“I thought him and Helmer both of them, they haven’t played a lot of hockey, so I thought they were going to have a heart attack in the first,” Babcock said after Franzen’s return against Winnipeg. “They dominated some shifts and were out for some long ones. I mean, you got the puck in the offensive zone, you’re not going to change. I thought those guys played well, have us a real good second group.”

Johan Franzen
Center  - DET
Goals: 6 | Assists: 7 | Pts: 13
Shots: 47 | +/-: E
Babcock has continued to alter his team’s lineup to encourage more offensive scoring and account for injuries, such as splitting Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and adding Gustav Nyquist to the roster. The Red Wings’ coach has long praised Helm as the best third line center in the league, but has promoted him to the second line on numerous occasions, as his style of play is infectious to all those around him.

“He brings energy, brings speed,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “You know, the puck’s been going in for him so that’s been good. I think he has confidence shooting the puck and he’s really good at getting in on the forecheck and making the opposition think twice about making a play and a lot of times he’ll beat them to the puck. Just that speed and energy is contagious.”

“I think everyone is feeding off his energy out there, the way he works and the way he skates, everyone feeds off that,” said Franzen.

Helm relishes that part of his game just as much as his teammates do.

“Yeah it’s part of my game that I enjoy as well,” Helm said. “It kind of gets me into the game early on if I can throw a hit or get hit, it kind of gets the mojo going I guess you could say. I enjoy it whenever I get a chance I like to finish those checks, be physical and it’s a big part of my game.”

Whether it was hunger, excitement or just catching a few lucky breaks, both Helm and Franzen have been playing strong since returning to the ice, answering Babcock’s calls and motivating everyone around them.

“I’m a little bit slower, I have time to think,” Franzen said, poking fun at his success after injury.

“You play so many games you kind of lose that excitement all the time,” Helm said. “My excitement is at a pretty high peak right now and hopefully it continues for a long time. The game is really fun right now for me and I’m just enjoying what I’m doing and hopefully just keep having fun.”




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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