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Red Wings-Oilers game-day updates: Helm’s in, Franzen’s out, Mrazek starts opposite Bachman

Updated 14x at 4:55 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to build upon their 2-1 win over Vancouver and their 4-3 win over Calgary, aiming to continue their winning ways against the Edmonton Oilers this evening (10 PM EDT, FSD/CBC/97.1 FM), and as Paul noted, Darren Helm will play this evening. MLive's Ansar Khan reported that Helm's playing, and he clarified Johan Franzen's status, too:

The Wings, as expected, have activated Darren Helm, who'll make season debut tonight, and placed Jonathan Ericsson on long-tern IR.

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Johan Franzen is out tonight but expected to play Monday in Winnipeg, Ken Holland said.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness and the Free Press's Helene St. James confirm, with St. James penning an article about Helm's return..

To make room for Helm, who had been on Long-Term Injured Reserve, the Wings put defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on LTIR retroactive to Oct. 21, the day after he hurt a shoulder at Phoenix.

Helm hasn't played since Jan. 25 of last season, succumbing to back pain that set in while he was working out a few days before the lockout-shortened 2013 season was to begin. Numerous attempts at comebacks fizzled.

Days before training camp was to begin [that] week, he left an informal practice with a sore groin. He missed training camp and exhibition season, and has slowly been working his way back to peak health.

Now comes the next hard part: Re-establishing himself as the swift, energetic third-line center he was when he last played regularly, in early spring of 2012 (he had numerous injuries to finish the 2011-12 season, too).

"Helmer, it's going to be great him coming back into the lineup," Jimmy Howard said. "But I think everybody has to remember for how long he's actually been out. Give him some time to adjust. But he can just use his speed, that's going to be key for us, because he can get in on the forecheck, create a lot of havoc, turnovers, and he'll add a boost to our penalty kill as well."

As did Khan:

Helm appeared in only one game last season due to a back injury. His comeback this season was delayed by two separate groin pulls.

To make room for Helm under the salary cap, the Red Wings have transferred defenseman Jonathan Ericsson from short-term injured reserve to long-term IR.

Ericsson, out since Oct. 19 with a dislocated left shoulder, isn’t expected to resume practicing until Wednesday. He must sit out a minimum of 10 games and 24 days. So he will not be eligible to return until the Nov. 15 game against Washington.

Johan Franzen won't play tonight after sitting out Wednesday's victory in Vancouver with an upper-body injury and then missing the third period in Calgary. He's expected to play Monday in Winnipeg.

The Red Wings also confirmed that Petr Mrazek will start this evening...

UPDATE: Petr Mrazek will suit up and start tonight in Edmonton #RedWings

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The #RedWings are here in Oil Country! We'll go for our third straight win tonight at 10 PM. http://pic.twitter.com/ypRW9iN4KA

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The #RedWings will be without the Mule tonight due to illness, but he might be back for Monday's game in Winnipeg.

And the Wings' Game-Day Blog sets up tonight's tilt...

The Red Wings' swing through Western Canada is off to a smashing start. Detroit beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Friday, two nights after a 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Meanwhile, the Oilers continue to struggle, and have lost four in a row.

The Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers meet twice this season now that they've been separated due to realignment. Detroit won all three meetings last season, including a 3-2 overtime victory at Rexall Place on March 15, and is 6-0-5 in its past 11 visits to Edmonton. They'll look to keep on rolling in Edmonton tonight.

Welcome to the Detroit Red Wings Game Day Blog, where you can get behind-the-scenes information, thoughts from players and staff, and up-to-date news on anything and everything Red Wings on game day.

You can watch tonight's 10:00 PM matchup on Fox Sports Detroit or CBC, or listen in with Ken Kal and Paul Woods on 97.1 The Ticket or AM 1270.

And it offers an incedibly ironic historical note:

On This Day in Red Wings' History... On November 2, 1989

Detroit deals Petr Kilma, Joe Murphy, Adam Graves and Jeff Sharples to Edmonton for Jimmy Carson, Kevin McClelland, and a draft pick.

RedWingsFeed noted that the CBC's Elliotte Friedman posited "distribution" notes regarding this afternoon and evening's games...

It is tripleheader Saturday on HNIC. CHI/WIN at 3pm ET/noon PT. TOR/VAN at 630ET/330 PT, followed by MON/COL or DET/EDM.

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Distribution for late game: Manitoba-east (except Windsor) gets Canadiens/Avalanche. Saskatchewan-west (and Windsor) get Wings/Oilers.

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Bure ceremony will be shown live. Foote ceremony depends on timing...but we are looking for ways to find room.

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WIN: Brown/Millen/Peacock. VAN: Hughson/Simpson/Healy/Campbell-Pascall. COL: Cole/Galley. EDM: Ball/Hrudey/Oake. After Hours: Andrew Ference

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"Every time you get a chance to play at this level, it's a lot of fun. I just want to do what I can to help." - Philip Larsen

RedWingsFeed posted a charitable note...

And Pavel Datsyuk answered his riddle:

The Oilers posted Edmonton's morning skate lines and personnel machinations:

Update on #57's status --> RT @Bob_Stauffer Perron is on IR retroactive to last Sunday eligible for Florida on Tuesday.

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#Oilers lines at morning skate --> Jones-RNH-Eberle, Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky, Lander/Hamilton-Gordon-Arcobello, Gazdic-Acton-Eager

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Perron, Hall, Smyth, Joensuu and MacIntyre all participating in morning skate as well. J-Schultz (groin/ribs) only player absent.

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With J-Schultz not skating this morning, #Oilers defence pairings are Smid-Petry, Ference-NSchultz and Belov-Larsen.

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Ryan Hamilton makes his return to the #Oilers lineup tonight playing on the wing with Gordon and Arcobello.

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"We need some heaviness and he plays that heavy game we need. His job is simple tonight." - Coach Eakins on Ryan Hamilton

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Bachman will make his third straight start for the #Oilers, look for Dubnyk to return during road trip. LaBarbera back-up tonight.

EdmontonOilers.com's Mark Ciampa confirms...

Prior to Saturday's morning skate, a trio of Oilers hit the ice: Steve MacIntyre, David Perron and Taylor Hall.

At the skate, Justin Schultz remained absent. Line combinations for practice were:

Jones-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Lander/Hamilton-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Defence pairings were:

Smid-Petry
Ference-NSchultz
Belov-Larsen

And if you missed it, the Oilers' game-day entry includes game notes (Don VanMassenhoven and Marc Joanette are refereeing tonight's game) and the Oilers' in-game program as well.

If you're interested, the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey blog is ridiculously analytical--in the best sense of the term--and Bruce McCurdy's still breaking down game siatuations from the Oilers-Leafs game on Tuesday.

 

Update #1: In the prospect department, don't forget that the Toledo Walleye are holding a Star Wars-themed night when Trevor Parkes, Marek Tvrdon, Max Nicastro and Richard Nedomlel tangle with the Kalamazoo K-Wings, and the Stanley Cup will be in attendance this evening;

In Sweden, in the SHL, Mattias Janmark was held off the scoresheet in 24:31 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK and AIK Stockholm tangled today, and SAIK defeated AIK 3-2 in a shootout;

In the J20 SuperElit league, Rasmus Bodin didn't register a point in Linkopings HC's 3-2 win over Orebo;

And Hapus Melen remains injured as Tingsryds IF lost 2-0 to HV71.

In the BCHL, Castanet's Wayne Moore reports that David Pope will return to the West Kelowna Warriors' lineup this evening...

The Warriors will still be without five regulars due to injury while defenceman Adam Plant is away with Team Canada West at the World Jr A Challenge, however, the club will have three healthy bodies back after forwards Seb Lloyd, David Pope and Ambrose Firkus all failed to make Team Canada West.

And back in Edmonton, the Wings' morning skate is underway, but the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan reports that it is VERY optional...

Just 3 goalies and 5 skaters on the ice.

As does MLive's Ansar Khan...

A few players on ice for optional skate at Rexall Place: Helm, Andersson, Eaves, Tootoo, Samuelsson, three goalies.

And the Red Wings:

A few of the guys just hit the ice at Rexall for today's optional morning skate #RedWings http://pic.twitter.com/iwjBGqaxxi

 

Update #1.5: The Oilers have already posted coach Dallas Eakins' game-day presser:

Update #2: OY VEY, per St. James:

Franzen and Eaves out tonight, Helm and Samuelsson in for Red Wings at Edmonton

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Helm with Miller and Samuelsson tonight at Edmonton. #RedWings

And Khan:

Babcock said Helm will play on line with Miller and Samuelsson, who is in for Eaves, a healthy scratch. Franzen, as noted earlier, is out.

The Edmonton Journal's BruceMcCurdy has already filed a game-day update post:

Last time Petr Mrazek took to the ice at Rexall Place, he was the centre of attention. The then 19-year-old goaltender was the masked face of a supposedly-weak Czech Republic team at the 2012 World Junior, and was the primary reason the Czechs qualified for the medal round. Particularly memorable was a 52-save effort as the Czechs upset USA 5-2 and eliminated the Yanks from medal contention.

Tonight Mrazek returns, still wearing a red sweater, but surrounded by a much more highly-regarded team: the Detroit Red Wings. Picked #141 overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft  — 20 picks later than Oilers picked netminder Tyler Bunz, for those keeping score at home — the Wings’ nominal #3 man makes his first start of the season and just the third of his nascent NHL career. He’ll be spelling off starter Jimmy Howard, while backup Jonas Gustafsson is unavailable due to injury. His opponents? The struggling Edmonton Oilers.

For the first time in what seems forever, the schedule-maker has been Oilers’ friend for this one, as the home team has been resting and relaxing rehabbing since Tuesday, while the Red Wings played in Vancouver Wednesday and Calgary Friday. With two wins under their belts, the Wings are rolling, but may be susceptible in a back-to-back scenario against an opponent desperate for a result.

One thing in Edmonton’s favour is that the Red Wings continue to lean heavily on older players. The top six Detroit scorers so far are Pavel Datsyuk (35), Henrik Zetterberg (33), Daniel Alfredsson (41 — so much for a youth movement!), Niklas Kronwall (33), Todd Bertuzzi (38), and Johan Franzen (34). Obviously lots of talent and hockey savvy in that group, but one would anticipate their hosts will have an edge in the energy department. Something is very seriously wrong if they don’t.

Of course, the Oilers continue to be a line-up in flux, with a variety of players nicked up or worse. Tonight Richard Bachman draws in for his third consecutive start between the pipes, with Jason LaBarbera slated to back up. Devan Dubnyk remains sidelined with an ankle problem — believed to be the first injury in his pro career that knocked him out of the line-up. (He missed a single game with a virus back in 2010.) DD’s ability to be a durable workhorse remains a key to any success this club is apt to experience in the immediate future, but for now the club will need a big performance from a secondary goaltender. Not to mention a little defensive help in front of him.

Reading the tea leaves for tonight’s encounter, Justin Schultz is apt to sit out for the first time in his NHL career, with two different physical issues in addition to a game that has featured more risk than reward to this point. Call-up Philip Larsen, another right-shooting offensive defenceman, will likely take his spot in the line-up. Although he may yet remain a game-time decision, the younger Schultz missed this morning’s skate with Larsen slotting right in besides Anton Belov on the putative second pairing.

Up front David Perron has been battling a pain in the neck (welcome to the Oilers, son!) and has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to last Sunday. Ryan Hamilton draws back into the lineup, bringing some much needed “heaviness” in the word of Dallas Eakins. Anton Lander waits in the wings in case somebody else comes up lame, gets food poisoning, or is struck by a meteorite between now and game time.

Update #2.5: Cue Wings roster confirmation from Kulfan...

Franzen and eaves not playing tonite helm and Samuelson in along with mrazek in net

And the Wings:

Coach Babcock says Darren Helm WILL play tonight. He'll make his season debut centering fourth line. #RedWings

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Darren Helm will center the fourth line alongside Miller and Sammy; Eaves will be a healthy scratch #RedWings

Update #3: If you wish to watch them, the Oilers' website posted clips of Phillip Larsen and Ryan Jones speaking with the media;

The Edmonton Sun's Robert Tychkowski offered a game-day note...

Oilers get Detroit's back-up tonight. Czech rookie Petr Mrazak returns to site of his 2011 World Junior heroics to face slumping Oilers

EdmontonOilers.com's Mark Ciampa noted the Oilers' lineup tweaks...

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins announced on Saturday after the morning skate that Richard Bachman will start his third straight game tonight, with Jason LaBarbera backing up.

Ryan Hamilton also makes his return to the lineup after missing 13 games due to injury. Hamilton will skate on a line with Mark Arcobello and Boyd Gordon.

And Darren Helm looks...Almost happy?

Update #3.5: Here are Ken Kal's Keys to the Game:

Play Fast - The track here is quick and the Oilers can skate. The Wings need to play an uptempo game to hang with them.

Get the Lead - Edmonton has a lot of young talent that can put the puck in the net. The Wings should try to dispose of them early.

Play Well in Front of Petr - Mrazek is making his third NHL start, so the Wings need a good solid effort in front of him; clear rebounds, block shots, and allow him to see the puck.

Update #3.75: Here's an interesting note from DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:

Twelve players have played in all 14 games for the #RedWings this season, but only three defensemen -- @JKindl4, Quincey and @DeKeyser5.

Update #3.8: The Edmonton Journal's Jonathan Willis offers his bottom line:

Lots of interesting stuff in tonight's game (Mrazek and Hamilton in particular, for me). Key question: can a terrible team beat a tired one?

Update #3.9: The Wings are confirming Ericsson's status as on the LTIR:

UPDATE: The #RedWings have placed Jonathan Ericsson on long-term IR to make room for Helm; he'll be eligible to return on 11/15.

Update #4: The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Helm about his return:

I'm pretty nervous for this game," Helm said after the morning skate. "I might be more nervous for this game than I was my first game, ever, with Detroit. I'm going to use that energy, and just have fun."

Helm will start out centering the fourth line, between Drew Miller and Mikael Samuelsson. Johan Franzen (ilness) and Patrick Eaves are out. Petr Mrazek is starting in net.

Coach Mike Babcock knows to have limited expectations of Helm for a while. "He's going to be out of gas, I would assume, about 15 seconds into each shift," Babcock said. "He's got to simplify his game and be a forechecker and keep under control, emotionally, not run himself into the ground. We'll just see how he goes and play him accordingly."

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Now comes the next hard part: Re-establishing himself as the swift, energetic third-line center he was when he last played regularly, in early spring of 2012 (he had numerous injuries to finish the 2011-12 season, too).

"Helmer, it's going to be great him coming back into the lineup," Jimmy Howard said. "But I think everybody has to remember for how long he's actually been out. Give him some time to adjust. But he can just use his speed, that's going to be key for us, because he can get in on the forecheck, create a lot of havoc, turnovers, and he'll add a boost to our penalty kill as well."

Update #5: The Edmonton Jounal's Joanne Ireland filed a game-day article, noting that Taylor Hall and Jesse Joenssu are close to returning before getting down to brass tacks:

Devan Dubnyk will get one more game to ensure that he’s not plagued by any issues when he returns to the Oilers net.

Richard Bachman will instead start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.

On the back end, it looks like Philip Larsen will play with Anton Belov in the absence of Justin Schultz (groin/ribs), and up front Ryan Hamilton draws in.

David Perron (neck) has been placed on the injured reserve list.

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Hamilton had been called up early in October and was just one shift in when he sustained a knee injury. He hasn’t played since Oct. 7. He’ll play with Boyd Gordon and Mark Arcobello.

“I knew something was wrong but I tried to play with it then in the second (period) I couldn’t even play with it anymore. Definitely not the way you want to start your time with the team,” he said. “I’m just real excited to get back in the lineup. Detroit Red Wings. Hockey Night In Canada. No big deal,” he continued, with his tongue planted in his cheek. “I just need to play my game. Look to win those board battles and drive to the net.”

Update #6: EdmontonOilers.com's Chris Westcott filed a morning skate report:

MORNING SKATE: The Edmonton Oilers will host the Detroit Red Wings in their first of two meetings this season. The last time these two teams faced off the Wings skated away with a 3-2 overtime decision on March 15. Pavel Datsyuk scored the game-winner and the Oilers know that he is just one of several Detroit skilled players they'll have to zero in on if they expect to come away with a win.

Head Coach Dallas Eakins says that he has selected one of his forward lines to take the bulk of minutes against the Red Wings' top line but he will be quick to switch things up if they fail to halt Detroit's offensive power or generate momentum of their own.

"I do have something in mind," said Eakins. "But as always, if you don't feel it's going the right way you come off it. We all know who their best players are. It's not like they're going to sneak up on you. We've got to get somebody look after the Datsyuks of the world. I've talked to one line already, all three of the players, and that's going to be their job. If they can get it done, it'll be a great feather in their cap. If they can't, I'm going immediately to 'Plan B'."

LARSEN'S DEBUT: Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz will not play tonight after leaving practice early yesterday with 'rib discomfort' and then missing today's morning skate. The team recalled Philip Larsen to fill the void on the blue line and he will be suiting up in his Oilers debut. The 23-year-old Danish defenceman has played in seven games for the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. He has tallied seven points (1-6-7) and can be an asset on the power play.

He doesn't know if he will be seeing special teams minutes tonight, however he will be ready to help if called upon.

"I still don't know exactly what the plans are but of course, every time you get a chance to play it's a lot of fun," said Larsen. "Just play your game and help where you can help."

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HAMILTON BRINGS THE HEAVY: Oilers forward Ryan Hamilton has not suited up for the team since October 7, against New Jersey when he suffered a knee injury. He will play tonight against Detroit, replacing Anton Lander on a line with Boyd Gordon and Mark Arcobello. Eakins says he will bring a much needed 'heaviness' to the Oilers lineup.

"We've got a hole on the wing right now," said Eakins. "We're not the biggest team in the league. We need some heaviness. He plays that heavy game that we need. His job is very simple tonight. It's to go up and down his wing, to be strong on the boards, go to the net and cover his linemates off by being a good high forward a lot of the times. I've got a comfort level with Ryan because I've coached him for quite a while now. I'm hopeful he's up to speed quickly because he has been out a number of weeks."

Update #7: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's morning skate report:

"He’s going to be out of gas, I would assume, about 15 seconds into each shift,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s got to simplify his game and be a forechecker and be under control emotionally, not run himself into the ground. We’ll just see how he goes and play him accordingly.’’

Said Helm: “Short shifts and nothing too fancy, just play smart, make sure I don’t get caught on the ice. Games in Grand Rapids I took a couple of long shifts and thought I was done for the game.’’

The Red Wings placed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (separated shoulder) on long-term injured reserve, clearing enough salary-cap space to activate Helm. Ericsson is not eligible to come off LTIR until Nov. 15.

Helm played 12:27 in a 5-3 win over Minnesota last season. The next day, he aggravated his back again in practice. His only game action since then was a recent two-game conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“It was a struggle, took a long time to get to this point,’’ Helm said. “I’m finally here, excited, can’t wait to get going.’’

He expects to play on the penalty kill right away. And he doesn’t anticipate any issues with physical contact.

“I have no problem with any of the physical part of the game,’’ Helm said. “I took a couple of hits in Grand Rapids and gave a few. Everything held up, expect the groin, but that didn’t have anything to do with (contact).’’

And Detroit Sports 105.1 FM posted a Friday afternoon interview with Mickey Redmond.

Update #8: The Edmonton Sun's Derek Van Diest penned a game-day article for NHL.com:

Regarding Helm...

"There were days where I was really uncertain this day would ever come and whether or not I would be playing again," Helm said. "There were some days of doubt, and I'm really happy to be back."

Helm's problems began with a knee injury toward the end of the 2011-2012 season. He returned for a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff game against the Nashville Predators but was cut by Alexander Radulov's skate, bringing his season to an end. Helm then sustained a back injury that offseason preparing for the 2012-13 season. He reaggravated the injury in his brief comeback in January.

Having overcome his back issues, Helm injured his groin during training camp this season, then suffered another setback during a conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League.

"The back's feeling pretty good, it felt great going into camp," Helm said. "I pulled my left groin, and then I got down to Grand Rapids and tweaked my right one. Those were the two things that were giving me issues holding me out until today. But those are feeling good, so I'm good to go."

Mrazek...

"I'm really excited, it's the first start of the season for me," Mrazek said. "I'm not nervous, I'm just going to have fun. I know there is nothing better than playing in Edmonton."

And the Oilers:

The Oilers welcome the return of Ryan Hamilton, who suffered a knee injury in his debut with the team on Oct. 7 against the New Jersey Devils. Hamilton will take David Perron's spot in the lineup; Perron is out with a neck injury. Hamilton, 28, spent last season with the Toronto Marlies playing for Oilers coach Dallas Eakins.

"We've got a hole on the wing right now and we're not the biggest team in the League, we need some heaviness," Eakins said. "He plays that heavy game that we need. His job is very simple tonight, to go up and down his wing, be strong on the boards, go to the net and cover his linemates off by being a good, high forward a lot of the time. I have a comfort level with Ryan because I've coached him for quite a while now and I'm hopeful that he's up to speed quickly, because he has been out for a number of weeks."

Update #9: The Red Wings' Game Day Blog offers news and notes from the morning skate:

Darren Helm will make his season debut tonight.

"I'm pretty nervous for this game...but I'm going to use that energy and just have fun." - Darren Helm

"(Helm) has got to simplify his game and be a forechecker and keep under control emotionally." - Mike Babcock

"It's going to be great having Helmer back in the lineup...he can just use his speed, that's going to be key for us...create havoc, turnovers, and boost our penalty kill." - Jimmy Howard

Helm will center the fourth line alongside Miller and Sammy.

Petr Mrazek will also be making his season debut and his
third career NHL start tonight.

The Wings have placed Jonathan Ericsson on long-term injured reserve. He'll be eligible to return on Nov. 15.

Mikael Samuelsson is back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch last night.

Patrick Eaves will be a healthy scratch.

Update #10: Here's the Oilers website's game-day "In Focus" preview:

Update #11: Here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's game-day report, discussing Helm's return...

"It was a struggle, and it took a long time to get to this point," Helm said. "But I'm excited and can't wait to get going. There were days where there was uncertainty if it were ever going to come to this day, whether I'd be playing again. There were a lot of good days but there were a couple of days that swamped my mood. There were some days of doubt but I'm just happy for today."

Helm didn't expect any problems with the physical aspect of the game, he felt fine in two games with minor league affiliate Grand Rapids in that regard, but will need to adjust to the speed.

"The cardio might not be quite where I want it to be," Helm said. "The speed of the game, just adjusting to the speed, even in Grand Rapids it was coming at me pretty quick, and it's only faster here."

Mrazek returning to the scene of some World Junior crimes...

"I can't get wait," said Mrazek after the morning skate. "I'm really happy to be here."

Ironically, Mrazek had some of his best hockey memories at Rexall Place, the Oilers' home rink. Mrazek starred for the Czech Republic in the 2011 world junior tournament and was named the tournament's best goaltender.

"Great memories," Mrazek said.

And Johan Franzen's flu bug:

"Mule wanted to play (in Calgary)," Babcock said. "We probably shouldn't (have let Franzen play). He's not healthy right now and we have to get him healthy."

Update #12: The Oilers' website posted an interview with Petr Mrazek:

And the Wings' Game Day Blog offers the following note:

In addition to leading the team with 14 points, including two last night in Calgary, Pavel Datsyuk has a total of 35 points in 41 games against Edmonton.

He's Detroit's 'Hot Wing' by Buffalo Wild Wings!

Update #13: The Edmonton Sun's Derek Van Diest penned a game-day update:

Saturday against the Detroit Red Wing (8 p.m.) at Rexall Place, [Ryan Hamilton will] return to the lineup in place of David Perron, who is out with a neck injury.

“The knee is all healed up and I’m really excited to be able to get in the lineup and help the team out,” Hamilton said. “It's one of those things when you’re able to start skating again when you’re battling an injury, you want to get back in the lineup as soon as possible. I was just waiting for it to heal and I’m glad it’s healed up and I’m ready to go.”

Having signed as a free agent this season, the Oilers have high expectations for Hamilton, who scored 30 goals last season playing for the Toronto Marlies. Dallas Eakins, who is in his first year with the Oilers, coached Hamilton with the Marlies last year.

“He’s obviously seen me play and has seen what I can do,” Hamilton said. “Obviously this is a different level and you have to try to bring something on the ice. I know this is a great opportunity for me to try to step in there, do what I can and help the team. “ Detroit is a great team, great franchise, they have so many weapons and they play great as a team. That’s going to be a huge test and challenge for us. But we’re excited about it. We all have to play our A-Game, and hopefully, get the results we want.”

Perron was added to the Oilers long injury list Tuesday, a late scratch against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“We’ve got a hole on the wing right now and we’re not the biggest team in the league, we need some heaviness,” Eakins said. “He (Hamilton) plays that heavy game that we need. His job is very simple tonight, to go up and down his wing, be strong on the boards, go to the net and cover his linemates off by being a good, high forward a lot of the time. I have a comfort level with Ryan because I’ve coached him for quite a while now and I’m hopeful that he’s up to speed quickly, because he has been out for a number of weeks.”

The Oilers will also go into Saturday’s game without defenceman Justin Schultz, who is out with a groin and rib problems. The club has called up Philip Larsen from the Oklahoma City Barons to take his place. They have also moved Ryan Jones up to the first line in an effort to try and contain the Red Wings top unit of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

“I think I just have to play the same way that I have been,” Jones said. “I need to get in hard on their defencemen when I’m the first forward in and if I’m not I need to be responsible defensively. Any sort of mistakes that you make against them, they’re going to turn around and go the other way, and those are guys that you don’t want odd-men rushes going against your D.”

Update #14: The Hockey News's Casey Ippolito's "Gameday Preview" focuses on tonight's game:

Detroit at Edmonton
Oilers fans must be terrified about this one. The team with the most established identity in the NHL squares off against a team desperately in search of an identity of their own. If there’s one edge the Oilers have tonight, it’s that they’re well rested. They last played Tuesday in a 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs, while the Red Wings played Friday in Calgary and won 4-3.

Bachman making a mark on Oilers goalie chart. (Edmonton Sun)

Wings activate Darren Helm, who’ll play tonight. (MLive)

Player to Watch: If the Oilers are to turn things around, goaltending will be a huge part of the equation, and that starts with Richard Bachman in the cage tonight. He hasn’t won yet, but has looked strong in a short sample of work.

And TSN posted a slate of "Wings-Oilers Ice Chips" in a 4:44 game-day clip.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

NickLidstrom's avatar

Why put Samuelsson in? Why?!?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 11/02/13 at 02:03 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Justin Schultz thinking he’s Paul Coffey. Coach must of told him hey this ain’t the 80s NHL, sit this out, lol.
Awesome Pav photo LOL
The Mule is untradeable sadly because of his salary and now he’s in Babs doghouse, sigh.
The Oil are more banged up than the Flames and their goaltending is comical.
Hope this game ends with a Wing player hat trick maybe two, hehe.
Helm won’t be back to Grabner and Raymond quickness anytime soon but glad to see him finally return.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 11/02/13 at 03:16 PM ET

Avatar

Why put Samuelsson in? Why?!?

Because Babcock can’t not make changes.  Even putting Helm in for an injured Franzen isn’t enough.  He doesn’t want the Edmonton junior team to feel bad, so he’s not putting out the best team possible.

Posted by Garth on 11/02/13 at 06:29 PM ET

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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.