– Despite having 95 NHL games under his belt, and a Stanley Cup ring at home, Darren Helm
didn’t officially feel like a pro player until Sunday.
The Red Wings forward received his initiation in Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center when during his first shift he suffered a broken nose.
“Yeah, it took almost a hundred games but I finally did it,” Helm joked Tuesday. “It’s sore, but it’s nothing I can’t sit or miss games for.”
During his first shift against the Flyers, Helm took a questionable hit from Philadelphia forward Ian Laperriere that resulted in three stitches to go with the broken nose.
Laperriere is no stranger to the Red Wings. It was as a member of the Colorado Avalanche that Laperriere sidelined Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
with a cheap shot that resulted in a knee injury in Feb. 2008.
For Helm, the broken nose didn’t force him to miss any action. In fact, he scored his first goal in a month with a backhand effort late in the first period. He also logged 11-minutes, which is about his average amount of ice-time.
Helm said he was frustrated that he had to stop playing to get stitches from trainer Piet Van Zant.
“Piet was stitching me up and patching me up for five or six minutes,” Helm said. “So it just made me want to get out there even more and try to respond in a positive way, and try to get back at what I thought was a pretty bad hit.”
The moxie shown by Helm won’t be lost on his Red Wings’ teammates any time soon, either.
“It was pretty awesome that he kept playing with that,” Wings forward Patrick Eaves
said. “I just saw a huge collision, I didn’t see what happened, but when I got back to the bench he was pretty bloodied up. You could tell he couldn’t breathe out of it. For him to stick in a huge game like that, that showed a lot of character.”
Helm said he will be in the line-up when the Wings take on Columbus Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Whether he ends up wearing a cage to protect the injury has yet to be determined, thought he said he hasn’t had to wear a cage since he was 15-years-old.
“I’m going to talk to some people and see what they think,” Helm said. “Obviously it’s going to hurt if I get hit again, so maybe something like that for a little bit, just to make sure we don’t keep aggravating it.”
When asked if he was having trouble sleeping, his neighbor in the locker room, Kris Draper, stared laughing. Helm said it would take a lot more than a broken nose to keep him from sleeping, yet there might be a problem for whoever he shares a room with on the road.
“I won’t have trouble sleeping ever,” Helm said. “It’s not clogged or anything. The guys said I might start snoring, but you know, I’m not going to hear it. It’ll be too bad for my roommate though.”