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Notes: Helm to miss at least six weeks with injury

Forward has shoulder dislocation; Wings plan to recall player from Griffins tomorrow

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - The Red Wings-Lightning game was a disaster for both teams, even though the Lightning got the victory.

Darren Helm was up-ended by Nikita Nesterov in the third period and never returned to the game.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill announced Wednesday that Helm suffered a shoulder dislocation and would miss a minimum of six weeks.

"Helmer's a real effective player for us, brings energy, wins puck battles, gives you tons of speed," Blashill said. "So he's a big piece of our team for sure. But this is the NHL, you've got to find ways with other guys to go in and win. Personally, I just feel real bad for Darren Helm. He's had a tough go over the last number of years. He's got to keep his head up and keep plugging and just try to get himself mentally in a spot where he can be ready when he comes back. That's my biggest thing, I would say, just that you hate to see it happen to a guy again so it's unfortunate."

Blashill said Helm would not require surgery for now but he would continue to be evaluated. "It's going to hurt us," Riley Sheahan said. "It really sucks. He had a great start. He's obviously has had a little bit of a history with injuries. The guys feel bad for him. We're going to be there for him and hopefully he can get back sooner than expected."

Helm missed all but one game in 2012-13 and half the season the following year due to injuries.

The Lightning announced that star Steven Stamkos will be out indefinitely with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Stamkos was hurt killing a penalty midway through the first period.

The Grand Rapids Griffins play tonight and the Wings will call up someone after their game. Blashill said it wouldn't necessarily be a center that comes up.

"We've got multiple options between Sheahan, (Luke) Glendening, (Steve) Ott has played lots of center in his career so we have multiple options that we'll look at and make our decision," Blashill said. "We'll look at some stuff in practice, then we'll make our decision Friday."

Center is Sheahan's natural position and he played it against Tampa Bay so it should be fine if that's where he ends up. "I think this year was the first time I've really had a substantial role at wing," Sheahan said. "I think center is what I've played all my life. I enjoy playing on the wing. I don't prefer one of the other. I'm just happy to contribute any way I can."

OTHER INJURIES: Blashill said Thomas Vanek, who has missed the last 10 games with a hip injury, is expected to be ready to play Sunday.

But Andreas Athanasiou, who sprained his knee last Thursday against Vancouver, won't be ready for a while.

"No further update," Blashill said. "It's going to be a minimum of at least two more weeks."

Blashill said the Wings have always had organizational depth and that is what they'll rely on right now.

"When you have injuries, you have to draw upon the depth of those players, guys have to step up and play real good, maybe in different roles," Blashill said. "I thought Luke Glendening was excellent last night. He played in a little different role. So whether it's guys in the same roles stepping up or whether it's guys in different roles, whether it's call-up guys, just collectively you have to have guys find a way to go out and have a great process and give yourself the best chance to win."

SPROUL TAKING ADVANTAGE: With the Wings giving Niklas Kronwall a break, Ryan Sproul got back in the lineup and took advantage of the opportunity.

Sproul scored a power-play goal, his first NHL goal, drew a penalty, and assisted on the ensuing power-play goal. "I haven't even talked to Nik today," Blashill said. "I thought Ryan Sproul played real well last night, I thought Ryan Sproul did what he does on the power play, which is a cannon of a shot and obviously we scored so he made a good case for himself."

Kronwall did participate in the off-ice workout Wednesday.

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