The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/12/12 at 05:33 AM ET
The vast majority of the Red Wings' players skated at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday (cue an awesome 22-image gallery of the Wings' players from the Detroit News's David Guralnick!), and Wings forward Darren Helm spoke to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose, MLive's Ansar Khan and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness about his recovery from lacerations to flexor tendons in his right arm, which were surgically repaired after he suffered the injury in Game 1 of last spring's Wings-Predators series...
“It feels good,” Helm said of his repaired right forearm. “It feels good shooting, passing, everything feels fine. I haven’t had any pain or trouble with it. My doctors have told me it’s on track. We’ve gotten past that troubled stage a long time ago. It’s been good.”
“I can still feel it when I do things I normally do,” said Helm, who added he would be ready if training camp starts on time a week from Thursday in Traverse City. “The weight isn’t quite there yet and I’m not lifting as much as I normally do at this time. It was a month before I got here before I could get going so I’m a little bit behind in that aspect. But everything I’ve done so far it’s felt good.”
And Helm, who will likely wear Kevlar sleeves for added protection, had just returned from a sprained left MCL.
Helm is a valuable asset to the Wings’ bottom six forwards, anchoring the third-line center spot.
His absence was missed in the playoffs, where Detroit fell to the Predators in five games.
“I was out a month before the playoffs started and I only played three minutes (in Game 1 vs. Nashville),” Helm said. “I’ve kind of been in summer mode for a while. I wasn’t able to use my arm for the first month and a half after the season. I slowly started to get on bikes and running and doing little stuff. It took a long time before I could do anything. It was boring a lot of times. I missed out on a few things I wanted to do during the spring. It was probably the longest summer I’ve had."
But Helm told the Free Press's Helene St. James that he's not quite at 100% just yet:
"I can still feel it when I do things I normally do," Helm said. "The weight isn't quite there yet -- I haven't been lifting as much as I normally do. So a little bit behind in that aspect, but everything I've done so far, it's felt good. It's not sore, it's not painful -- it's not any of that. I just know something happened to it."
The Wings have come to rely on Helm, 25, as their third-line center and a top penalty killer, and reinforced their opinion of him this summer with a four-year, $8.5-million contract. Helm also got a new locker-stall neighbor: Jordin Tootoo, a pesky forward formerly of Nashville and possibly a future linemate.
"I like him as a player," Helm said. "He brings a lot to the team. He knows what he does. He's a big presence on the ice, is physical."
Just when the two might audition together remains to be seen.
NHL owners are expected to institute a lockout Sunday, which would mean no access to Joe Louis Arena, no training camp, maybe no games as currently scheduled. Helm hasn't decided if he'll play elsewhere if it looks like a lockout will drag past a few weeks. For now, he plans to stick around the Detroit area -- and keep skating.
I hate to toss in a programming note, but I've gotta do it: I'm still recovering from the virus I contracted almost a month ago, and while I'm posting a couple of entries a day, my recovery is still going very slowly. For the next couple of days, anyway, I'm going to be a part-time presence and will be in and out as I try to catch up and get back up to speed again.
I am very, very, very sorry for the inconvenience, and I know it was terribly timed, but I couldn't do anything about it. The whole house has been ill and the mom and aunt are still recovering from this bug as well. If I had health insurance, I would have headed to the doctor's long ago, but as I don't, I'm going with my family physician's advice (he's very kind and will at least bring me to his office and give me once-overs and prescriptions without charging me) a long time ago, but I'm kinda stuck riding things out here.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.