The smile on Darren Helm's face Wednesday said it all.
Helm, who was limited to one game for the Detroit Red Wings last season because of a back injury, skated for the first time in two months when he worked out with prospects at Center Ice Arena in Traverse, Mich.
"You guys haven't seen one of these on my face in a while," he said of the smile that followed a 50-minute on-ice session. "I'm feeling good and can't help but be excited.
"It was a good first day. Haven't skated in two months, so I think it was a good start. It's been two months since I skated, so [I'm] pretty happy with the way things went today."
Helm is working with weights again and said he hopes to continue getting stronger in preparation for training camp in September.
Though he's not a big scorer, Helm's return from an injury suffered while doing weight training prior to camp last season would give the Red Wings a huge boost as the center for the third line and on the penalty kill. He scored nine goals and 26 points in 68 games in 2011-12 and has career totals of 32 goals and 83 points in 249 regular-season games.
Helm is known as one of the NHL's fastest skaters, but that wasn't the case Wednesday.
"Two months without skating -- obviously, I didn't put my head down and go after it," he said. "I thought I skated well. My hands are always a big issue. ??? Just give it a couple weeks, and I'm sure I'll get that back."
He'll continue skating drills this week, but he's not anticipating playing in a two-hour scrimmage scheduled for Friday.
"I don't think I'll take part in the scrimmage," Helm said. "We'll see what happens Thursday. I've been off for two months, no point getting out there and start hitting at this point of the summer. It would be stupid."