Tag Archives: darren helm

Helm ready for move from center to wing

DETROIT >> With the abundance of centers on the Wings’ roster, coach Mike Babcock has to move at least one or them to wing.

The early candidate is Darren Helm.

“I’m going to start like that, I think,” Babcock said after watching a number of the Wings’ on-ice workout at Joe Louis Arena. “(I like) his tenacity, pace, heaviness on the puck and because I’ve got to have room for other guys, I think he can help.”

The move to wing also brings Helm a promotion to one of Detroit’s top two lines since Babcock has him skating alongside Pavel Datsyuk.

“To give Pavel that tenacity to help Pav out a little bit,” Babcock said. “Helmer can play down low in the zone too a bit for him. This all depends on (Stephen) Weiss and his situation and how healthy everyone else is. Camp starts the 19th. That’s a chunk of time away.”

Helm said Thursday that Babcock first told him of the move during their end-of-season meetings.

“It’s not a huge shock,” Helm said. “Look around the locker room and we have six or seven NHL center-icemen so someone was going to have to change. And the guys that are coming up are great center-men. It’ll be fun to have a chance to play the wing with one of the best players in the league. I hope to find success, stay there and help this team win.”

Helm isn’t a stranger to playing wing, but it’s not as natural as playing center.

“I need to make sure the pucks on the wall are getting out,” said Helm, who recalled playing wing for one shift in 2010-11 season and roughly 15 games last year. “Besides that there isn’t a whole lot I need to change. Because of the way we play, first guy back in the zone he’s playing low anyway. There will be times where I have to cover the point so that’s another area I’ll need to work on.”

Helm could also use his speed more on the wing.

“Anytime the puck is going up the weak-side wall it’s an opportunity for me to push the pace,” Helm said. “I can open up some space for everyone else and if there are loose pucks I can chase them down. Both positions you have to use your speed at different times. It’s about using your brains and smarts to know when to use it.”

Along with Datsyuk, Helm and Weiss at center, the Wings also have Riley Sheahan, Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening. Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen can also play center.

“I had a lot of centers for Canada at the Olympics,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s just play hockey. I tell you what, the forwards, there’s a jam here for players. We’ve got good players. You’ve got a lot of forwards coming at you. She’s open on the back end. There’s a chance to make the team there.”

Babcock has Sheahan centering one of the bottom two lines, while Glendening and Andersson will battle to center the other line.

“(Helm) has a lot of speed and a lot of skill,” Zetterberg said. “I think it will free up Pav a little bit. They really have to worry where No. 43 is on the ice and with Pav’s skill and the way he can pass the puck it could be a good weapon to have.

“The other thing too now that we’re all healthy, we have a lot of center-men,” Zetterberg added. “Everyone can’t play center, so we have to put someone on the wing.”

The Wings’ top four centers that began the season – Datsyuk, Helm, Weiss and Andersson, along with Zetterberg – were all sidelined at once at one point last year.

At training camp, Babcock will have Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Weiss be first-line centers on their respective teams.

Rough stuff

DETROIT >> Of the seven penalties the Wings drew Sunday, four were for roughing.

“Emotions are running high,” Darren Helm said. “(Milan) Lucic said it pretty well after he got (Danny) DeKeyser, emotions sometimes get the best of you. Last night I thought that’s what happened. Emotions are running high, we got into some scrums that we shouldn’t be getting into. We’re a team that plays between the whistles, not after the whistles.”

“It’s a lot of emotions out there,’ Nyquist said. “It’s the playoffs. They like to get involved after the whistles a lot. We’re standing up for ourselves. It’s just how it is in the playoffs. There are a lot of emotions.”

Three of the Bruins’ penalties on Sunday were for roughing.

“I think it’s pretty clear, our team has to be physically engaged, but again, within the rules,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “When we’re not we’re in the penalty box. We have to find a way to stay out of the box a little bit more. To me, we’re in the box for too many penalties and down the road that can hurt you. So playing within the rules and being physical is part of our strength, so we have to be that team. The after-whistle scrums are certainly not pre-planned, it’s just two teams that are intense and ready to battle for their space and it’s as easy as that.”

Babcock juggles up his top three lines two days into preparing for series opener with Boston

DETROIT >> Just two days into Detroit’s preparation for its opening round series with the Boston Bruins, Wings coach Mike Babcock has already changed up his forward line combinations.

On Tuesday, Pavel Datsyuk centered Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader, while Tomas Jurco was on a line centered by Darren Helm along with Daniel Alfredsson.

On Wednesday, Nyquist was with Datsyuk and Abdelkader and Jurco was reunited with the Kid Line along with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.

“I think it’s helped even more that we’ve adjusted so well and we’ve done it together and we’ve relied on each other,” Sheahan said of the lines with his former Grand Rapids Griffins. “Obviously Tats and Nyqi and sometimes Tats and Jurcs, we have some good chemistry but I think it’s just working hard and that’s the biggest thing.”

Franzen, Helm and Alfredsson made up another line.

“There are a lot of things we’ve got to do,” Helm said. “They’re a really good team and we’ve got to be on top of our game, doing everything we can as well as we can. If we do that, then we’ve got a chance to be successful. If not, if we’re not driving to the net, forechecking hard, being in position, then it might be a short series.”

The fourth line of Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller remained the same.

Wings get Datsyuk back, but they’re not looking for him to be a savior

DETROIT >> With six games left in the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings will be getting one of the best players in the world back in their lineup.

And they do not have to ask him to come in and lead the way to the playoffs.

After missing 16 straight games to rest inflammation in his left knee, Pavel Datsyuk will play Friday night when the Wings host the Buffalo Sabres.

“He has an ability to change the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “In saying that, we can’t stand around watching him play. We’ve been doing it without him and we’ve got to continue to make sure we’re doing our part. We’ve got to guard against saying, ‘Oh, Pav’s going to look after it.’ He isn’t going to look after it; we’ve got to look after it as a group.”

The Wings are 8-6-2 without Datsyuk over the last 16 games, but have won their last three games in a row, including a 3-2 win over the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

“I expect him to be one of the best players in the world,” Babcock said. “He knows how to play, so he knows how to play with and without the puck. When he gets his hands on it, he’s going to be good with it. Without it, he knows how to play. I’m not sure how much pace he’ll have, but I saw him battling after practice. If it appears he’s ready and feels confident, then I’m sure he is.”

Detroit also leads the race for one of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Datsyuk played for Russia at the Olympics, but has only been able to play in two games with the Wings since returning. He last played on Feb. 27, leaving in the second period of a 6-1 win over Ottawa.

“I feel much better now,” Datsyuk said. “(My) knee doesn’t really bother me but not too much like before when it was really bad. It definitely helped (being off) and I feel like I can push now.

“I wish the whole pace picked up after one practice,” Datsyuk added. “The plan is short shifts, not too much ice, stop and go, and then we see.”
Datsyuk will play on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

“He looked awesome, like he’s got lots of energy,” Helm said. “I forgot how good he was with the puck, trying to get it away from him, I really didn’t have an opportunity to steal the puck from him too much. He’s going to be a great addition back in this lineup.

“He’s a guy that we need,” Helm continued. “He slows the game down. Plays with so much poise, skill, backs the other team’s D off a lot. He’s going to be a good help on the power play as well.”

Helm has also missed considerable amount of time this season due to numerous injuries and Abdelkader just returned from a leg laceration.

“It’s going to be kind of a fresh start,” Helm smiled. “I’m kind of fresh, he’s kind of fresh and Abby is kind of fresh so it’ll be a pretty interesting line out there.”

The team has played much of the season without Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together.

“Things are rolling along right now and hopefully things will continue to roll with him back in the lineup,” Helm said. “I can’t see anything changing. He’s one of the elite players in the league and all he’s going to do is help.”

One thing Datsyuk didn’t lose in his time off was his sense of humor.

“I don’t know if his speed helps me,” Datsyuk said of playing with Helm. “He looks like me, old, slow guy.

The Wings announced they were shutting Datsyuk down for three weeks at the trade deadline to rest his ailing left knee. Friday marks the fourth-week in that timeframe.

Datsyuk, who has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games this season, has played in just four games since the Winter Classic.

Wings coach Mike Babcock on Datsyuk’s return: “We can’t stand around watching him play. We’ve been doing it without him and we’ve got to continue to make sure we’re doing our part.”

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings will get Pavel Datsyuk back, Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

“He has an ability to change the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “In saying that, we can’t stand around watching him play. We’ve been doing it without him and we’ve got to continue to make sure we’re doing our part. We’ve got to guard against saying, ‘Oh, Pav’s going to look after it.’ He isn’t going to look after it, we’ve got to look after it as a group.”

Datsyuk has missed the last 16 games resting his ailing left knee.

“It’s been (a) long time no play, I forget I’m hockey player,” Datsyuk joked after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s exciting to come back.”

Datsyuk will skate on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

“I expect him to be one of the best players in the world,” Babcock said. “He knows how to play, so he knows how to play with and without the puck. When he gets his hands on it, he’s going to be good with it. Without it, he knows how to play. I’m not sure how much pace he’ll have, but I saw him battling after practice. If it appears he’s ready and feels confident, then I’m sure he is.”

Datsyuk played for Russia at the Olympics, but has only been able to play in two games with the Wings since returning. He last played on Feb. 27, leaving in the second period of a 6-1 win over Ottawa.

“I feel much better now,” Datsyuk said. “Knee’s not really bothered me but not too much like before when it was really bad. It definitely helped (being off) and I feel like I can push now.

“I wish the whole pace picked up after one practice,” Datsyuk added. “The plan is short shifts, not too much ice, stop and go, and then we see.”

Helm did center a line with Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson earlier this season.

“He looked awesome, like he’s got lots of energy,” Helm said. “I forgot how good he was with the puck, trying to get it away from him, I really didn’t have an opportunity to steal the puck from him too much. He’s going to be a great addition back in this lineup.

“He’s a guy that we need,” Helm continued. “He slows the game down. Plays with so much poise, skill, backs the other team’s D off a lot. He’s going to be a good help on the power play as well.”

Helm has missed considerable amount of time this season due to numerous injuries and Abdelkader just returned from a leg laceration.

“It’s going to be kind of a fresh start,” Helm smiled. “I’m kind of fresh, he’s kind of fresh and Abby is kind of fresh so it’ll be a pretty interesting line out there.”

Detroit is 8-6-2 without Datsyuk over the last 16 games and hold down the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“Things are rolling along right now and hopefully things will continue to roll with him back in the lineup,” Helm said. “I can’t see anything changing. He’s one of the elite players in the league and all he’s going to do is help.”

One thing Datsyuk didn’t lose in his time off was his sense of humor.

“I don’t know if his speed helps me,” Datsyuk said of playing with Helm. “He looks like me, old, slow guy.

The Wings announced they were shutting Datsyuk down for three weeks at the trade deadline to rest his ailing left knee. Friday marks the fourth-week in that timeframe.

Datsyuk, who has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games this season, has played in just four games since the Winter Classic.

Helm has been cleared to return from a concussion; expects to play Saturday in Minnesota

DETROIT >> Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

Darren Helm has been cleared to return to the lineup after missing eight straight games dealing with a concussion.

“I’m excited to get back in, obviously,” Helm said. “I’ve done this a few times. I want to get back out there and get going with the team.”

Helm expects to play Saturday afternoon in Minnesota.

“I’ve had a bunch of good skates, cleared by the doctor, did my concussion test, I guess you could call it, did well on that and I feel good and ready to go,” Helm said. “I’m really excited. I’ve been watching this team do a lot of good things. (Thursday) night, the night before, last couple games I really wanted to be a part of seeing what the guys did, how they laid it on the line, how excited everybody was with those wins, for myself included. I felt a little left out, but get a chance to be a part of it now and hopefully keep a good thing going.”

Helm said he’s centering Cory Emmerton and Landon Ferraro.

“I’ve played with those guys a couple of times, played with Lando in GR when I went down, good kid, and Emmer’s been here for a while,” Helm said. “Hopefully we can find some chemistry quick and I don’t think we’ll be playing huge minutes but hopefully we can be effective.”

His coach wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know, we’ll see after (Saturday’s) warmup if he’s going or not,” Wings coach Mike Babcock.

Helm, who was diagnosed with a concussion by the same specialist the saw Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen, was injured in Ottawa on Feb. 27 when he hit his head hard on the ice. Later in the game he was grazed in the chin which also could have triggered it.

In the Wings’ next game his vision became blurry.

Helm has played in just 29 games this season, totaling seven goals and five assists.

When asked if what one word he would use to describe his season thus far Helm said, “I’d say painful, not physically but mentally. That’s the word I’ll pick.”

Just this season alone, Helm has also been sidelined with injuries to his groin, shoulder and back.

“Keep it short and simple, not making too many hard plays,” Helm said of how he’s got to play in his return. “Smart at the blue line, making sure the pucks are getting out of our zone and into their zone. Try to shoot a lot of pucks on net. Not make it too hard on myself.”

Helm was a last minute scratch prior to the Winter Classic due to the groin injury.

Helm made his season debut on Nov. 2 after playing in just two games over the last 19 months.

To begin the season, Helm was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.

Ericsson out for rest of regular season after surgery on his broken finger and torn tendon

DETROIT >> The only streak the Detroit Red Wings seem to keep intact of late is the amount of injured players that keep piling up.

Tuesday’s win over Toronto produced another injury, a broken finger for defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. It was the sixth consecutive game that a player has been injured.

“There’s been times when we’ve had guys out, but not like this,” said Darren Helm, who’s currently sidelined with a concussion. “To have almost every one of our centers from the start of the year be out right now and seeing Johnny go out (Tuesday) I don’t want to say it’s comical, but it’s unbelievable. You can’t really explain what’s happening with this team, but the guys that are in the lineup have been doing a good job so once everyone is back healthy we’ll make a good push.”

According to Wings general manager Ken Holland, Ericsson had successful surgery to stabilize his fractured finger and repair a partially torn tendon and will be out four-to-six weeks, sidelining him for at least the rest of regular season.

“We’ve had actually lucked out for a while on the blue line,” Brian Lashoff said. “Not having E is going to be tough. It’s just kind of strange how it’s been happening all year and now these last couple of games guys are just going down. We just have to rally as a group back there and makeup for the minutes that E won’t be playing.”

Jonas Gustavsson (groin) began the long list of injuries after leading the team to a win over the New Jersey Devils on March. 4. That was followed by Joakim Andersson (broken foot, March 9 against the New York Rangers), Tomas Jurco (broken rib, March 11 against Columbus), Todd Bertuzzi (lower-body injury, March 14 against Edmonton) and Justin Abdelkader (leg laceration, Sunday against Chicago.

Bertuzzi missed just one game.

The team is also without Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) and Daniel Cleary (knee).

“I don’t think anyone has seen anything like this,” Lashoff said. “It’s been weird for sure. A lot of guys have had opportunities to come up from Grand Rapids and guys have played more minutes than they would have before and those guys have been playing well and they’ve kept us in the hunt.”

Wing coach Mike Babcock said that despite the rash of injuries this year it doesn’t wear on him emotionally.

“I do the same every day, get up and do the best I can,” Babcock said. “I’m not carrying around the weight of the world, I don’t do that.”