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Red Wings-Coyotes Game 2 notebooks: On Darren Helm and the Mule’s ugly mug

Note for readers: This is meant to be read in tandem with my recap of the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

With Justin Abdelkader earning Saturday’s lion’s share of praise, Darren Helm earned a Sunday’s worth of attention from the Free Press’s Helene St. James...

Darren does a lot of little things out there that go unnoticed,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He uses his speed to his advantage. His shot has been night and day from the start of this season to now. It’s a testament to him and how hard he’s been working in practice and staying after and working with the goalies on his shot.”
“He dominate today,” Datsyuk said. “He does lots of skating and make D tired little bit. This is good for us.”
“He’s been great for us all year long, the work ethic of that guy and the shape he’s in, it’s unbelievable,” Johan Franzen said of Helm. “He comes out every night and just flies out there and makes it miserable for the other team.”

The only negative came in the third period, when Helm was called for interference on Martin Hanzal, which gave the Coyotes 1:52 with a two-man advantage.

“It was unfortunate he took a penalty there late, where they got the 5-on-3,” coach Mike Babcock said. “But I thought he had a good night.”

As well as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

Said Brad Stuart : “He’s all over the ice. His skating is obviously his strong suit and he uses it well. He’s pretty smart about it. You could see him progressing as the year went on. He’s been a force for us.”

Helm’s hit on Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski in the second period sent Jovanovski out of the game with an upper body injury. Helm was called for boarding and Jovanovski never did return to the game.

“The play happened so fast, I don’t know exactly what I did wrong,” Helm said. “I was just trying to play physically and play my game. I don’t want to be hurting anyone. I wasn’t targeting his head or anything like that.”

Kulfan also took note of the following…

The Wings have to stay away from penalties, according to Nicklas Lidstrom .

“We got into penalty problems again and you can’t do that against a good team,” Lidstrom said. “They’re going to capitalize on the chances. We had a lot of penalties in the first game so we have to tighten up.”

• That’s somewhat ironic, because in the, “In Swedish” department, what did Tomas Holmstrom have to say to Expressen’s Gunnar Nordstrom?

“We took a few cheap penalties and Phoenix never gave up, and almost came back, and nearly caught up with us. It wasn’t very good for us,” said Tomas Holmstrom to Hockeyexpressen.se after the 4-3 victory.

• Johan Franzen? Classic quips to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman:

The question now is what his wife, Cissi, thinks. Her husband looks like he got into a bar fight.

“Well, she probably didn’t pick me for my looks, so it’s probably okay,” he chuckles.
Immediately after the game on Saturday, the team flew to Arizona for Games 3 and 4 in the series against the Coyotes.

“It’s great that we won two games without Zata. Now it gets tougher. Hopefully we can steal a game in Phoenix.”

• Here’s a little more praise for Datsyuk from Nicklas Lidstrom, via MLive’s Ansar Khan:

Through two games, Datsyuk has five points (two goals, three assists), 12 shots on goal, six takeaways and is 24-for-37 (64.9 percent) on faceoffs.

“It’s fun playing behind him and seeing what he’s doing, whether it’s one-on-one or one-on-two and he’s drawing players to him to find his teammates open,’’ Lidstrom said. “So he’s amazing with the puck and his work ethic is so high, too.’’

Lidstrom said Datsyuk, who also delivered a big hit in each game, is stronger than people think.

“He’s got real strong legs, good balance and he’s hard to knock off the puck,’’ Lidstrom said. “That’s what you see when he’s battling guys. He can hang onto the puck with one hand on his stick and still beat guys.’’

• From the CBC’s series blogger:

With a plus-2 performance Saturday, Lidstrom improved to plus-55 in his playoff career, and surpassed former Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg (plus-54) as the all-time leader in Stanley Cup play.

“Wow,” Lidstrom said. “I wasn’t aware of that.”

Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski (plus-45) sits third on the list.

• The London Free Press’s Morris Dalla Costa reiterated Chris Osgood’s take on the new City of Detroit octopus ban, and the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness offered some new takes on near-morning games from Kris Draper and Patrick Eaves;

• The Free Press’s Steve Schrader posted an “Octopus’s Garden” worth of quotes from the NBC telecast, as well as a note about a Wings-score-updating billboard and this wise observation in his “Octometer”:

Did Ilya Bryzgalov finally wake up? He shut out the Wings for almost the final two periods. Boy, if it weren’t for those first four goals ... which put his goals-allowed at 14 for his last three playoff games against the Wings.

He also points out that the Wings are holding “viewing parties” on Monday and Wednesday, so here are the details thereof, from the Wings:

Game 3 vs. Phoenix – Monday, April 18: Puck Drop @ 10:30 p.m. EDT.
Hamlin Pub – 50659 Gratiot Ave., Chesterfield, Mich.

Game 4 vs. Phoenix – Wednesday, April 2: Puck Drop @ 10:30 p.m. EDT.     
MotorCity Casino (Sound Board Theatre) – 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, Mich.

• I also mentioned this regarding a press release from the Wings, who’ve cut their Black Aces down, probably due to travel issues and World Championship conflicts:


… Eight ‘Black Aces’ Now Remain with the Club ...

Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings today announced that several players have been reassigned to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. A complete list of players who have been reassigned can be found below:

Joakim Andersson

Travis Ehrhardt

Ilari Filppula

Thomas McCollum

Francis Pare

Logan Pyett

Brent Raedeke

Eight Griffins players now remain with the Red Wings, serving in the capacity of ‘Black Aces’ (playoff reserves). These prospects and veteran AHLers will practice after/before the Red Wings every day and will be on hand to dress for an NHL post-season game should the need arise.

Currently leading their Western Conference Quarterfinal showdown with the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0, Detroit’s 2011 playoff schedule continues on Monday night at Arizona’s Glendale Arena (10:30 p.m. – FS Detroit & 97.1 The Ticket). Detroit’s next possible home game would be the series’ fifth game on Friday, April 22 (puck drop – 7:00 p.m.)

I’m guessing that Ilari Filppula will play for Finland at the World Championships, and Joakim Andersson will play for Sweden. I hope the Wings sent Thomas McCollum on a nice vacation so he can get his mind off hockey for a while.

• And I’ll end with a bang, via NHL.com’s Brian Hedger emptying his notebook of Wings and Coyotes quips:

Kirk Maltby, retired “Grind Line” member and now Detroit scout: “There were times we’d get labeled as not being tough enough or not having a tough guy on that line, but as an organization we’ve always seemed to pride ourselves on not putting somebody in the lineup just because of their toughness. We’re not going to just put somebody in the lineup that can’t play the game as well as be tough. You have to bring both.”

Maltby on tradition the ‘Grind Line’ started in Detroit: “We were a little unorthodox on how we created the Grind Line. We brought (Joe Kocur) out of the beer leagues. That doesn’t happen much. But we do take pride in the fact that we maybe played more minutes than most fourth lines on other teams in those Cup runs. We feel like we were a significant part of it. You need a little bit of everything to have success and fortunately we were there at the right time.”

Maltby on current fourth-line center Darren Helm: “His biggest attribute is his skating. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but that might be the biggest misconception of him because he’s really strong and is in great shape. We joke around and say if his hands could ever catch up to his feet, he’d be a really dangerous player—but he loves playing and has good smarts when it comes to penalty killing and forechecking and things like that. Obviously his skatng allows him to do things like that.”

There’s more where that came from. It’s good reading.

Update: Lest I forget, Traverse City’s 9&10 News reminds us that tickets for training camp went on sale on Saturday.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Nathan's avatar

Can anyone explain how Helm’s hit was boarding? And how anyone could possibly think that hit was any penalty, let alone a “dirty” hit or a hit that should’ve gotten him booted from the game as the ‘Yotes are suggesting?

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/17/11 at 03:16 PM ET

Nate A's avatar


Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/17/11 at 03:24 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

1) As Nate said, ‘cuz a Yote got hurt

2) Because the Red Wings were ahead in the game

3) Because Helm is one of our best penalty killers

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 04/17/11 at 04:26 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Kerry Fraser retired and most games turn into penaltyfest wink
The NHL really should get that 2nd ref off the ice for next season. Put him up in a tennis judge stand to occasionally make weak calls and help see what his zebra partner misses. Two many zebras on the ice these days, two ref system skating around counter productive.
Helm got called for boarding because the desert dogs were behind, I agree.
Phoenix screwed if Morris and Jovocop can’t play Game 3.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 04/17/11 at 04:49 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.