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Helm out for 2-4 weeks

by Christy Hammond / Detroit Red Wings
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Forward Darren Helm had already nabbed a roster spot with the Red Wings this season, but will have to wait 2-4 weeks until he can permanently enter the lineup after suffering an AC sprain in an afternoon practice on Monday.

“I was definitely looking forward to coming here and playing well, playing some exhibition games, proving to Detroit and everybody else that I belong here,” Helm said. “Obviously, this is a little speed bump in my way.”

Helm awkwardly fell headfirst into the end boards during a forechecking drill when he lost his edge and got tripped up by a teammate’s stick. He got up from the ice, wincing as he made his way to the bench. After sitting for a couple of minutes, Helm headed to the training room. He left Center I.C.E. Arena later that evening with his right arm in a sling.

“We’re fortunate, obviously, it’s not worse than it is,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s more opportunity for someone else in exhibition.”

Helm plans to take a few days off to rest the sore joint, but will then try to keep working out and skating – if he’s able – to stay in shape. Even if all goes well, Helm is doubtful to play in the Wings’ two-game season opening series against the St. Louis Blues in Sweden.

“I’ll just do what I can to make sure I’m ready so when I’m 100 percent I can do things I want to do at the start,” Helm said.

ERICSSON KEY WITH LILJA INJURY: With the Wings placing defenseman Andreas Lilja on the long-term injured reserve list, Jonathan Ericsson will be expected to step-up and use his big body on the blue line.

“Ericsson is a real good player obviously we all know that, but we need him to continue to take steps, especially without Lils,” Babcock said, “and so I thought he was real strong.”

FERRARO MAKES AN IMPRESSION: When asked which junior kid impressed him after two days of camp, Babcock named Landon Ferraro, Detroit’s first pick in July's entry draft. Ferraro was one of three prospects to score for Team Lindsay in Monday’s scrimmage.

“I thought the Ferraro kid has had a good rookie camp,” Babcock said. “He’s on his way home tomorrow, but he looked good and played real well. He’s going to play one day and I thought he played real good.”

EAVES TO PLAY A LOT IN EXHIBITION: The Wings signed Patrick Eaves to a one-year deal this offseason after he was traded from Carolina to Boston where he was bought out. Similar to Dan Cleary’s story, Eaves was a first round draft pick and a highly-touted prospect entering his first NHL season. He had a strong rookie campaign, but injuries got the best of him in following years. The Wings hope that he can blossom under the right system and will give him the opportunity to do so in Detroit.

“We’re going to play him in lots of exhibition games and give him every opportunity,” Babcock said. “I basically told him relax and play. He was a high-end player at one time. Let’s get your game back. A lot of guys have come here and things weren’t going well, but I’ve seen things are going pretty good for him. The challenge for him is to handle that and do something with that.”

TEAM LINDSAY BEATS HOWE: The second-day scrimmage showcased the dominating play of Team Lindsay as they easily defeated Team Howe, 4-1, on Monday evening. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom led Team Lindsay with a plus-four rating, while Johan Franzen, Francis Pare, Tomas Tatar, and Ferraro each tallied a goal.

After the two 30-minute periods, Team Lindsay had outshot Team Howe 33-20. For the first two days of camp, the scrimmages were played with the clock continuously running. The Red and White Game, which will conclude the 2009 training camp Tuesday evening, will have two 20-minute periods with the clock accounting for stoppages in play.

Don’t let the word scrimmage fool you, there was plenty of action in these scrimmages with bodies slamming against the boards and players sprinting down the ice as players fight for a roster spot and playing time either in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

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