Bertuzzi, Helm out Wednesday; Samuelsson getting closer to returning

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

Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm, who both are bothered by back injuries, didn’t practice and won’t play Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

“They’re not available to us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s all I know. Bert they’re hoping was going to turn the corner here and he hasn’t at all and Helmer I saw him walk in here today and I haven’t seen him since so he must not be very close.”

Bertuzzi has missed the last two games, while Helm has played just one game all season.

Mikael Samuelsson (groin) took part in his first full practice in quite some time.

“When I come back, still don’t know, got to ask the coaches,” Samuelsson said. “I feel better and better each day. I feel really close.”

At first Samuelsson said he was hopeful to return by the weekend, but then shot that done after being asked by Babcock.

“We have a conversation every morning I come in, then in the afternoon and evening,” Samuelsson said. “When I’m on the ice we’re talking to and then we’ll decide what’s best.”

Babcock thinks he’s going with the same lineup Wednesday, which means Patrick Eaves and Kent Huskins would be healthy scratches and Jimmy Howard would start in goal.

Despite being on a three-game win streak and St. Louis only earning one point in February, the Wings are just two points ahead of the Blues in the standings.

“It’s so tight,” Daniel Cleary said. “It’s going to come down to the last week of the season for three or four spots. We’re doing OK, getting better as a team which is normal. We’re happy with where we are.”

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