Tag Archives: darren helm

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.”

Helm progressing

DETROIT >> After suffering a setback on the ice last Saturday, Darren Helm has gone three straight skates without an issue.

“The symptoms have gone down quite a bit,” Helm said. “There’s a little bit each day, nothing major.

“Monday, Tuesday and (Wednesday) were all good days, positive and something to build off of,” Helm continued. “I was doing alright, not doing great, but that (Saturday) skate was really tough on me for whatever reason so I had to leave the ice.”

Helm however isn’t ready to put a timeframe on his return.

“We still haven’t had a practice,” Helm said. “I was hoping (Wednesday) would be that test for me to see if I would be able to hold up through a full team practice.

“I don’t know (when I’ll be back),” Helm added. “I need to sit down with everybody and decide.”

Smith will be paired with Kronwall to start against Penguins; Ericsson has surgery to repair broken finger

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena, which wound up being an optional skate.

Five of the injured players – Darren Helm (concussion), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Joakim Andersson (broken foot), Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder) and Daniel Cleary (knee) – skated.

Jonathan Ericsson did have surgery to repair a broken finger suffered in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Toronto. He’ll miss up to two weeks.

“We’ve had actually lucked out for a while on the blue line,” Brian Lashoff said of the injury bug that seems to be plaguing the room. “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.”

Tuesday was the sixth consecutive game the Wings have lost a player to injury.

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 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 is the lone player to return off that list.

“There’s been times when we’ve had guys out, but not like this,” Helm said. “To have almost every one of our centers from the start of the year be out right now and seeing Johnny go out last night 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.”

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

“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.”

Babcock said he’ll start with Brendan Smith paired with Niklas Kronwall on the blue line Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“He’s just got to compete hard and make good decisions with the puck,” Babcock said. “Smitty’s got the competitive nature you need, he’s got the skating you need, the skill you need. His decision-making with the puck gets him in trouble at times and his decision making being active, so those are things you grow with, you become a better player. Do more by doing less, make the simple play, don’t force things, lots of shifts are 50-50, nothing happens.”

Smith began Tuesday’s game as the fourth-line forward before dropping back when Ericsson got injured.

Helm progressing from his latest injury … a concussion

DETROIT >> Darren Helm took a baby step Friday in his hopes of returning to the Detroit Red Wings lineup from a concussion.

Helm participated in the team’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena prior to the game against the Edmonton Oilers.

“I didn’t really get the heart beating too hard, still good to be out there in different elements,” Helm said afterwards. “I haven’t had any bad headaches or long-lasting ones. Every once in a while I get a slight headache or slight pressure up there but nothing where it’s been a huge concern to keep me off the ice or keep me from moving forward.”

Helm was diagnosed with a concussion by the same specialist the saw Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen.

“I’ve been keeping close contact with him about my progress each day,” Helm said. “He says things are going well. Hopefully (Friday) will be another positive and I won’t feel anything tonight and we can keep pushing forward.”

Helm practiced on his own Thursday and needs to check with the doctors before taking part in a full practice.

Helm 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.

“That’s why we kind of stopped and re-evaluated,” Helm said. “I don’t know if I’ll know exactly how good that is until I start amping up my workouts and my skating because I did take two practices before (game at New Jersey) and had no issues. When I got to that game situation where I really going, that’s when the vision problems started happening. We just keep moving slowly with this and at some point we’ll test and see if that’s an issue.”

Franzen and Justin Abdelkader have missed time this season due to concussions.

“I’ve got a couple more days to go until we start thinking about getting back in the lineup, but anytime you get back on the ice it’s exciting,” said Helm, who hopes to travel to Chicago with the team. “That would be my goal (to return next week), just from watching other guys with concussions and head injuries, can’t really put a finger on when you think you’ll be back. We thought Mule was going to be back for the Olympics but he kept having complications and couldn’t go. Abby had one this year, he was good to go after a week and a half, so you don’t know how your body is going to react.”

Helm, who missed his fifth straight game Friday, has played in just 29 games this season.

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

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

Helm returned to the lineup 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.

Helm able to find a bit of humor with his latest setback keeping him off the ice

DETROIT >> The injuries just keep piling up for Darren Helm, so many so that the winger know jokes about them all.

“This is an all new injury for me,” Helm said Friday at Joe Louis Arena. “I guess I’m getting them all out of me in a year or two years and hopefully be done with it.”

Helm is sidelined with possible concussion-like symptoms.

“The tests I did nothing really showed too much,” Helm said. “I’m not really having symptoms that people normally have with concussions. There are small symptoms there that show that I could possibly have one, but I’m not one of those bad cases where guys are throwing up or are really dizzy or having trouble with the light. I am getting the headaches and it’s keeping me off the ice and from working out. That vision thing as well from the game is something concerning as well.”

Helm said he thought he 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.

“The next game it wasn’t that bad, we had a day off right after and I was fine,” Helm said. “Practice went well, a little bit of a headache that night and it carried over to the game (in New Jersey).

“It was never a piercing headache and kind of came and went as well,” Helm continued. “It was never bad. Then the Jersey game I got a headache, it wasn’t killing me, the headache itself wasn’t keeping me out of the game, but I was having troubles with vision, seeing the puck. I was told it was kind of migraine symptom that could have been caused by the head as well.”

Helm said he has been given the green light to jump on the bike and get going a little bit on Saturday and then they’ll take it from there. The game plan is for him to ride the bike for a few days and then maybe jump on the ice after that and get a couple skates in without any issues.

“It wasn’t until I got my heart rate really going and got competitive in the game where I started to have problems with my eyesight and tracking the puck,” Helm said. “There was a little bit of a headache, but nothing really that would have stopped me.”

Helm, who will miss his second game in a row tonight against the New Jersey Devils, has played in just 29 games this season.

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

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

Helm returned to the lineup 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.

Babcock hopes Datsyuk isn’t coming back too soon in order to participate in the Olympics

Pavel Datsyuk will make his return to the Wings’ lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers.

Wings coach Mike Babcock hope he’s not rushing back just to participate in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“I just hope we’re doing the right thing,” Babcock said. “I hope we’re not bringing him back just because it’s the Olympics. I hope he’s actually ready. We’re going to find out. One thing about getting back on the ice, you can’t hide out there.”

Datsyuk has not played since the Winter Classic, missing 14 straight games due to some sort of knee injury.

“It’s in his country, he wants to play bad, but he’s a smart guy, he isn’t going to jeopardize his career over something like this,” Babcock said. “(That) makes no sense. So we’ve got to trust him. Same way it happens all the time. You trust them. In the end they make the decision. That’s what injured players do.”

Datsyuk is the captain of the Russian team.

“Of course I needed a couple games but it’s more important to make sure I play,” Datsyuk said. “(The) toughest thing is watching games in locker room, but now I’m hoping I’m in good shape to play and nothing bothers me.”

Datsyuk has practiced frequently with the team since the injury.

He’ll skate on a line with Daniel Alfredsson and Darren Helm.

“He’s one of the best players in the league, in the world,” Helm said. “He’s dangerous whenever he’s on the ice. With him back, me and Alfie have been playing pretty well together, haven’t been doing too well on the score sheet, but doing all right. With Pav in there that should add another element. Hopefully we can click together and get some chemistry back and be effective.

“I just want to use my speed out there, open up the ice for him a little bit, let him make plays, get the puck to him,” Helm continued. “He’s a pretty skilled guy with the puck. I just want to let him do his thing and help him out when he needs some help.”

Datsyuk said Wednesday that wanting to play in the Olympics hasn’t put any extra pressure on himself.

“Anytime you have one of the best players in the league back in the lineup it’s going to give the guys even more confidence out there,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I know he’s very excited. He looks like he’s doing OK. Hoping when he gets out there he’s feeling comfortable enough to do his things.”

Datsyuk was added to a line with Helm mainly because of his speed.

“That’s what we think, Alfredsson’s a good player, Helm’s a good player, Pavel’s a good player; why can’t that work?” Babcock said. “We got our Z line going good, we got our Sheahan line going good, we got Glenny’s line going good. That other line wasn’t going anyway.”

Detroit also plays at Tampa Bay Saturday before the Olympic break.

“I’ve got two lines that are going real good,” Babcock said. “We’ve got something going. He’s got to be a part of it, can’t be in the way of it. So as good a player as he is he’s been out a long time.”