DETROIT – Darren Helm finally has his timetable of when he’ll return to the Detroit Red Wings lineup.
Helm is heading to Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint Wednesday and will play in the Griffins’ home opener Friday against Milwaukee.
“He didn’t have any training camp, he’s played one game in 18 months, so I talked to him in Traverse City and he felt he needed a full training camp,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said during Tuesday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “He’s now in the process of getting himself healthy, fit. He now needs to play some games.”
Helm is also scheduled to play Saturday with Grand Rapids in Rockford.
“I’m ready to get going pretty soon,” Helm said after practice Tuesday. “Things are going well. I’m skating hard. Today was a battle. I just feel good, ready to go.”
After recovering from a back injury, Helm’s return to the lineup was derailed by a groin injury.
“Everything feels good,” Helm said. “It’s looking good. Things are rolling in the right direction. I’m happy with it.
“Not until I step on the ice do I want to put a (return) date on it,” Helm added. “Until my name is on a lineup sheet I’m not going to get that excited about it. When that day comes then we’ll talk about it.”
Helm will return to Detroit on Monday.
“The two games in the American League, those are his preseason games,” Holland said. “I ask him every couple of days how he’s doing, he feels great and he’s excited to go down. We’re excited. It looks like we’re headed in a positive direction.
“If all goes according to plan he’ll be in the lineup against the Rangers on Oct. 26,” Holland added.
Helm was placed on long-term injured reserve to begin the season which meant he would miss at least the first 10 games of the regular season.