Monthly Archives: August 2013

Helm not sure if he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm continues to take his comeback from a back injury one day at a time.

“Like I said last year I try not to think about (when I’ll be back),” Helm said Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “When I get better I get better. I’m not putting time lines on it. I’m not focused if I have a bad day or a good day I’m just going straight forward.”

Helm was with nine other teammates and a handful of other NHLers and minor leaguers taking part in an informal skate prior to the start of training camp.

“I’m not putting a timeline on opening season,” Helm said. “I’m just trying to get better. I did want to get back for last year, but with no real reason of why I had back pain it made me push harder and harder to work through it. Now, things are going well, I want to keep it at this pace and when I’m ready I’m ready.”

Helm wouldn’t use the word encouraged to describe how he feels where he’s at in his recovery process just yet.

“I haven’t thought about the word I would use,” Helm said. “I’ll be even happier when I’m playing in a game.”

Helm played just one game last season due to slightly torn disc in his back that never required surgery.

Helm took part in the Wings’ annual prospects development camp in Traverse City to test out his back.

“Traverse City was the first time I’ve skated in a long time,” Helm said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to push myself too hard at the start, but I eventually got there.”

Helm has been skating in Detroit for nearly three weeks.

“It’s been feeling really good,” Helm said. “I’ve still got some work to do in the weight room and a few more things (on the ice) to get past, but I think it’s really looking good. I don’t think it’s the first hit (I need to get past), there are a lot of different aspects of the game that I’m kind of worried about at this stage that I’m at right now. Hitting obviously is a big one, twisting and turning, even getting tired and trying to push it because that’s when you get hurt is when you’re tired. I’m not in the shape I’m usually in so I’ve got to get back in that kind of shape.”

“I haven’t felt the pain I’ve felt before in a long time,” Helm added. “It’s more muscles I haven’t used in five or six months. I used them here or there to try and get back last year. We’ve been skating pretty good here, having some good workouts and I’m just going to keep going.”

Helm, who back issues began before training camp began last season, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.

He was hit by a puck on Nov. 2 during an informal skate in Troy, breaking an orbital bone.

On March 17, he missed the final 10 regular-season games with a sprained MCL. Then, in his first game back, the playoff opener against Nashville, he had tendons in his forearm sliced by a skate.

Nyquist ‘excited’ to get two-year deal to stay in Detroit

DETROIT – It may have taken a bit longer than expected, but the excitement was still the same for Gustav Nyquist.

Nyquist, who was the last restricted free agent the Wings had to sign, received a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $950,000.

“I’m real excited to know that I’ll be a part of the organization for two more years,” Nyquist said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s such a great organization to be a part of. I’ve learned so much from all the guys there over the last couple of years so it’s a great feeling for sure.”

Nyquist, 23, will earn $850,000 next season and $1,050,000 in the final year of the deal.

“It feels great,” Nyquist said. “I’m real happy to be here for two more years. The negotiations went well and it all worked out.”
Nyquist will still be a restricted free agent when the deal expires.

Nyquist played in 22 games during the regular season last year and had three goals and three assists. He played in all 14 of the Wings’ playoff games where he contributed two goals and three assists.

He really blossomed playing on the third line along with Joakim Andersson and Damien Brunner.

“We had a lot of young guys last year that developed throughout the year and it was a real good learning experience for us all,” Nyquist said. “For us to be around the guys, especially in the playoffs, they all know what it takes to win. You really learned a lot. It’s a great experience for us young guys to be able to learn through the experience of playing in it. A lot of these guys have been through it all and won the Stanley Cup.”

Andersson, who was also a restricted free agent, signed a two-year deal last month, while Brunner was not re-signed.

“It was a real exciting year last year being able to play with Brunner and Andersson there on the third line and I think that went well,” Nyquist said. “We have added some great additions to our team (this offseason). The whole thing is looking great and it’s real exciting that we got (Daniel) Alfredsson and (Stephen) Weiss as well.”

Nyquist is still in Sweden and attended the Olympic team camp.

“The Olympics would be something special, but I’m real excited to get the season started,” Nyquist said. “It would be an unbelievable experience to be a part of an Olympics. We have such a great team in Sweden, so it all depends on how you start the season, obviously. It’s going to be tough, but I’m going to try to make the team, for sure.”

With Nyquist signed it puts the Wings two players over the 23-man roster limit and close to $4 million over the salary cap. Teams can go 10-percent over the salary cap during the offseason.

The Wings do have a bit of flexibility with this year’s cap if they choose to apply nearly $3 million in potential bonuses to next season’s number since it’s expected to rise.

There is some concern about the health of Darren Helm, who was limited to playing just one game last season due to a slightly torn disc in his back.

If Helm is unable to start the season the Wings could place him on long-term injured reserve and thus create a roster spot there. It would also allow his $1.75 in salary to not count against the salary cap.

If he’s healthy the list of players that could be trimmed from the roster via trades or being waived include Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson and Patrick Eaves.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement teams receive only limited cap relief ($100,000 for players who signed at age 35 or over and a maximum of $925,000 for others) for players who clear waivers.

Eaves’ game is comparable to that of Drew Miller.

Cory Emmerton appears safe on the roster if Helm is unable to regain his pre-injury form to center the Wings’ third line.

If they’re unable to trim or trade players to get down to 23, the Wings could send Nyquist and defenseman Danny DeKeyser to Grand Rapids since they both are exempt from waivers.

Rosters are due two days before the start of the regular season on Oct. 2.

Nyquist gets two-year deal with Wings

The Detroit Red Wings and restricted free agent forward Gustav Nyquist have agreed on a two-year deal.
The average salary cap hit will be $950,000.

Andersson gets two-year deal worth $2.525 million

DETROIT – And now there is just one.

On Tuesday, the Wings signed restricted free agent center Joakim Andersson to a two-year deal worth $1.465 million.

That leaves forward Gustav Nyquist as Detroit’s last restricted free agent that needs to be signed before training camp begins in September.

On July 16, defenseman Brendan Smith inked a two-year deal worth $2.525 million. He was the only restricted free agent to file for arbitration.

Andersson, whose deal will have an annual salary-cap hit of $732,000, will make $700,000 this season and $732,000 in the final year of the deal.

The one thing the Wings love about Andersson is his size and grit.

“I like smart and I like big guys,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Andersson last season.

Andersson, who’s 6-foot-2, 206 pounds, spent most of the season in Detroit after Darren Helm was sidelined most of the year with a back injury.

“We had so many kids that really improved and made us better,” Babcock said last season. “That’s allowed us to play better. We have more depth.”

Andersson, 24, centered the third line most of last regular season, registering three goals and five assists in 38 games.

He had a goal and four assists in 14 playoff games.

The signing does increase the Wings’ roster size to 24 and that will go up one once Nyquist gets his deal done. That’s two over the league limit and puts them close to $3 million over the salary cap.

Teams can also go 10 percent over the salary cap during the offseason, but that’s something Detroit doesn’t want to do.

The Wings do have a bit of flexibility with this year’s cap if they choose to apply Daniel Alfredsson’s potential $2 million in bonuses to next season since that cap number is expected to rise.

Detroit isn’t completely sure if Helm will be ready when training camp arrives.

Helm was limited to playing just one game last season due to a slightly torn disc in his back. He took part in the Wings’ development camp last week to test his health and it seemed to go well.

If Helm is unable to start the season the Wings could place him on long-term injured reserve and thus create a roster spot there. It would also allow his $1.75 in salary to not count against the salary cap.

The list of possible players to be trimmed from the roster via trade includes Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson and Patrick Eaves.

The Wings have had discussions with Nashville about sending Tootoo, who has two years left on a deal at $1.9 million a season, back to the Predators.

Eaves’ game is comparable to that of Miller.

Cory Emmerton appears safe on the roster if Helm is unable to regain his pre-injury form to center the Wings’ third line. That would more than likely secure Andersson to centering the third line and allow Emmerton to center the fourth line, like he did most of last season.

There’s also a chance Detroit could welcome Daniel Cleary back, but only if a deal can be made to shed salary.

“We’re comfortable where we’re at right now,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said earlier this offseason. “But if we do anything else we’d have to move somebody first.

“We’d like to do a move or two, I’m not sure we can,” Holland added. “If we can’t make a move I’m OK with our team, we’ll go to camp. If we can make a move and free up some money then certainly re-signing Dan Cleary is a possibility.”

If Detroit can’t trade players off its roster it could still trim them when the regular buyout period in August begins, but two thirds of those salaries would count toward the cap.

After the Wings were eliminated from the playoff, Andersson and a number of his teammates helped lead the Grand Rapids Griffins win the Calder Cup.

“These are great experiences,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in the offseason. “When you’re a young player nothing can be better for your development than going on a run in the AHL playoffs. It’s a roller-coaster ride, physically and emotionally. This is an experience we can’t replicate in development camp or training camp.”

Babcock credits Andersson’s and the other rookie’s quick development to coach Jeff Blashill, who was a Wings assistant for one season (2011-12).

“Blash is doing a heck of a job there,” Babcock said last season. “We haven’t had a team be a playoff team in Grand Rapids in a long time (since 2009). It’s important they win down there. We’ve got some guys that are really knocking on the door for jobs.”

The Wings selected Andersson in the third round, 88th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Wings sign Andersson to two-year deal

The Detroit Red Wings have agreed a two-year deal with center Joakim Andersson.

More details to follow…

Devellano on Shawn Burr: “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

DETROIT – Former Detroit Red Wing Shawn Burr died Monday evening from head trauma.

According to a source, Burr fell down a flight of stairs at his home and suffered massive trauma to his brain and was placed on life support.

He was taken off life support early Monday evening.

“On behalf of the Detroit Red Wings we’re very saddened by the news,” Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said in a phone interview. “He was a good human being. He was too young.”

Burr was 47.

“It’s very, very sad,” said Devellano, who was the Wings’ general manager when they drafted Burr. “Shawn was a friend of mine. I liked him very much, drafted him in the first round in ‘84. He played a long time for us. I remember the overtime goal he scored for us against Chicago in the playoffs (that clinched the four-game sweep in the first round in 1987).

“He was our first pick in my second draft, when we were trying to get to the Detroit Red Wings from the Dead Wings,” Devellano continued. “He was a good guy, a pretty good player for us. He was always an upbeat kid with a good sense of humor.”

In 2011, Burr was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which required a bone marrow transplant.

He had successfully completed chemo therapy and was declared cancer free.

“When he was fighting cancer I would call once in a while to encourage him and chat,” Devellano recalled. “He had a very good attitude.”

Burr, a resident of St. Clair County, founded the Shawn Burr Foundation which served charities in St. Clair County. It most recently was supporting blood cancer research.

The Wings drafted Burr in the first round, seventh overall, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

He played 16 seasons in the NHL, 11 of which were with Detroit. He also played with Tampa Bay and San Jose.

Burr, who scored an astonishing 60 goals in his final season with Kitchener before joining the Wings, had his best season with the Wings in 1989-90, scoring 24 goals and assisting on 32 in 76 games.

“He was a big scorer with Kitchener,” Devellano said. “I was hoping that might translate to the NHL.”

However, Burr, who totaled 181 goals and 259 assists in 878 games, was more of a grinder during his time in the league.

“He had the ability to score and was a pain to play against,” Devellano said. “He played hard. He was a good, motivated and fun-loving kid. He turned out to be a pretty good NHL player.

“He had a long career and was a bona fide NHL player,” Devellano continued. “He was a good, solid player who was a good Red Wing, a good guy, brought a little life to the team. I’m very, very saddened by this news.”

Red Wings Shawn Burr dies from head trauma

DETROIT — Shawn Burr died Monday evening from head trauma.

According to a source, Burr fell down a flight of stairs at his home and suffered massive trauma to his brain and was placed on life support.

Burr, who was 47, had been battling cancer for three years,

More to come…