Samuelsson ready to go; Helm out first two games; MacDonald back at JLA

DETROIT – Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena.

Mikael Samuelsson returned to practice after missing the last couple of days with a tender groin.

“It feels good,” Samuelsson said. “No feelings at all. Good first part of the day.”

Samuelsson said he could play Saturday in the Wings’ opener on the road in St. Louis.

“First it’s got to feel good on the ice,” Samuelsson said. “After that I don’t think I will have a problem. But the day after also is important, especially if you go twice here today. So far, so good.

“I’ve been on the ice for two months,” Samuelsson added. “Still, when you come here, you don’t want to miss anything. You want to be out there and do extra work. Is it frustrating? Maybe a little bit. You got to be smart about it as well.”

Darren Helm (back) didn’t skate and Wings coach Mike Babcock has ruled him out for the first two games of the season and quite possibly the home opener Tuesday against the Dallas Stars.

“He can touch his feet,” Babcock said.

Wings backup goalie Joey MacDonald was also back, but didn’t skate.

He’s still suffering from a bad back.

“I’ve still got my back problem still from last year,” MacDonald said. “I had an injection last week and things are going well. Maybe by next week I start skating and get going back at it again. It’s just one of those things that got good probably by July and just acted up with the same kind of thing. It’s frustrating, but we’re back playing, everyone’s excited and it just gives you a little extra motivation.”

MacDonald lost his backup job to Jimmy Howard when the team signed Jonas Gustavsson this offseason.

“It’s just like every other year,” MacDonald said. “Come in and battle. Last year was a great year for me. I was right up there. I got a chance play during the run here. I don’t think I could have done any better as a goalie coming in. My main goal is to get back, get healthy. It’s going to be a quick season, 48 games, not a lot of time off. There’s going to be injuries. Right now it’s getting may cardo going and once I get out on the ice it’s not going to take long for Jimmy B and Oz to get me back.”

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