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Notes: After busy weekend, Nosek finally gets chance

Darren Helm considered day-to-day, could be ready for Friday's game

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - It was an interesting weekend for Tomas Nosek.

The Red Wings called Nosek up on an emergency basis for Saturday and he took warm-ups but the team ended up assigning him back to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

"It's been busy," Nosek said after Monday's morning skate. "I played Friday in Grand Rapids and drove here after the game. Took the warm-ups here, then flew into Chicago and played that night. Yesterday I fly back to Detroit and now I'm here. Yeah it's been busy but it's hockey. It's good. I'm young still. I'm ready to go."

Because Darren Helm suffered a lower-body injury at 5:08 of the second period after a hit by Colorado's Erik Johnson, the Wings recalled Nosek again.

"He's not going to play tonight and I don't expect him tomorrow but Friday is not out of the question," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said about Helm. "It's more of a day to day thing."

This time Nosek will get to play, making his season debut against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I'm very excited," Nosek said. "Every time you get a chance to play in the NHL it's very exciting. I tried to do my best down there to hope to get a call-up and now I'm here, so I will try to prove it that I belong here."

Nosek, 24, has 15 goals and 25 assists in 49 games with the Griffins this season.

"He's done excellent in Grand Rapids, from what I've been told," Blashill said. "I had a chance to see him play a few weeks ago but he got hurt real early in the game. What I believe he is is a real good, solid defensive player who can make plays offensively. He's hard on the puck, he's strong on the puck. His skating has really improved over the last couple of years. He's just a real smart, good hockey player."

Nosek played in six games with the Wings last season.

"Every game in the NHL it's a lot of experience," Nosek said. "The next time you step on the ice you hope it helps you to have more confidence. This year is the first game, so it's been awhile but I'm playing good hockey down there and I hope I prove that tonight."

During the morning skate, Nosek centered a line with Drew Miller and Luke Glendening.

"I think he's become one of the go-to guys there and here he'll be a fourth-liner, so the minutes are different, but he's always an accountable player," Blashill said. "That's what's going to allow his transition to the league to be smooth. He is a two-way player already. There's not lots of bad habits. I'd say the one thing for him is making sure he manages the puck well. When you play lots of minutes and you're expected to produce lots of offense you can take a few more chances with the puck. When you're playing less minutes, you want to make sure you're trying to crate but you can't give anything up. So, that would be the only adjustment for him but I think it comes natural for him to be a good, two-way player."

Nosek said the main thing he's focused on since turning professional is improving his speed.

"Probably I have a problem the first year with the quickness, the speed here," Nosek said. "That's probably the big step for me, the speed. I try to work every summer on it. I hope it's working.

"I feel the difference. I'm a little quicker on the ice. The speed gives me confidence, too."

Blashill said the difference is noticeable.

"If you'd have asked me two years ago I'd have said his skating has to improve for him to play in the league now," Blashill said. "I know he trained real hard in the offseason. He trained with a sprinter with the last two offseasons. I thought when he came up and played with us last year his skating was excellent. I think lots of times with these guys it's opportunity. We've got lots of good players around here. I've said it lots. Not just up here but down there. Then it becomes opportunity-based."

SPROUL NOT SURE ABOUT SURGERY: Just when Ryan Sproul was about to get a real opportunity to stay in the lineup, injury struck.

It happened at 3:04 of the second period in Edmonton on March 4.

"The puck came out the other way as I was turning one way and just an awkward fall, hit a rut on the ice," Sproul said. "It's just an ACL. The MRI was hard to see so it's just a partial tear and a little bit of a bone bruise."

Sproul said he has been rehabbing his knee and would know in the next couple of weeks whether he will require surgery.

"See where it's at and try to fix it if I can by myself by working out and if it's strong enough, I'll stay away from surgery," Sproul said.

Either way, Sproul's season is over after 27 games.

He finished with one goal, six assists and was minus-8.

"It's just a tough season in general for me," Sproul said. "It's not what I wanted. I wanted to come in and make my point of knowing that I could play in this league. It's kind of a struggle when you can't get into games, can't get any consistency. I think with this injury, I'm going to look back on this season and do whatever I can next season to stick in the lineup."

The Wings officially placed Sproul on injured reserve on Saturday.

CALLAHAN OK: Mitch Callahan was a scratch this past Saturday but not a healthy one.

Callahan participated in Monday's morning skate but not fully.

After the skate, Callahan said he had a minor shoulder injury but felt he was ready to play and believed he could have played with it Saturday, but the doctor wanted him to rest it.

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