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Notes: Helm joins Frk on the sidelines

Booth and Witkowski get their chance as Wings deal with injuries

by Arthur J. Regner @arthurjregner /

DETROIT- Little-used forwards David Booth and Luke Witkowski will be in the Red Wings lineup Wednesday against Calgary as Martin Frk (groin) and Darren Helm (lower body) are nursing injuries.

"No Darren Helm tonight," Wings coach Jeff Blashill stated after Wednesday's optional morning skate. "I would say it's day to day. Will he be ready for Friday? We'll see."

Helm's lower body injury is somewhat of a mystery. According to Blashill, it occurred sometime during the Columbus game, but Helm's ice time against the Blue Jackets was 19:19 and he played two shifts in overtime.

Certainly, something could have crept up after the game and it's clear the Red Wings believe Helm will be available sooner rather than later.

With Frk and Helm out, there was speculation Detroit could call up someone from Grand Rapids, but Blashill quickly shot down that possibility.

"We have enough manpower up here, we will not call anybody up today," he said.

When the Wings signed Witkowski as a free agent last summer, Detroit stressed his versatility to play either forward or defense as a major reason to bring the Michigan native home.

Witkowski has played in seven games this season and has not registered a point and been whistled for one minor penalty.

Booth, the Detroit native, who made the Wings out of training camp on a professional tryout (PTO), has appeared in four games and has been held pointless; he has taken two minor penalties.

"David Booth has been working extremely hard since he's been here," Blashill said, "He hasn't had an opportunity and I think he deserves the opportunity tonight."

Whether the Wings elect to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen or the standard 12 forwards and six defensemen will be made during the game, but Blashill seems unconcerned.

"We'll see, I'll make the lineup decision when the puck drops tonight," he said. "Witter's (Witkowski) a forward/D. I can go either way, I can go 12 and six, I can go 11 and seven because of Witter's flexibility."

GREEN WANTS TO STAY: Defenseman Mike Green is aware he's in the last year of his contract with the Red Wings and depending on where Detroit finds itself in the standings on February 26, 2018, he could be a prime candidate to be moved on trade deadline day.

"I've been in the league for a while, I understand," Green responded. "It's day-to-day, every game is extremely important. I don't think you have time to worry about that stuff; my focus is day-to-day. I don't think about it, the chips will fall where they fall."

Green has been exceptional this year with one goal among 14 points in 18 games and is also a plus-4.

"The best players are the best players because of the inner drive they have, period. It's exemplified a lot. You see it with a guy like Mike Green," Blashill said. "He's a very good player, had a very good year last year, he's 30-something years old, could have just been happy but wasn't.

"He wants to get better. That's why the best are the best, because they keep grinding to get better every day. I looked the other day and he's at least going into Monday, he led the league in ice time per game even strength. He's a huge asset to our team, he's been a big part of our outcomes. He plays tons of minutes offensively and defensively.

"I think he's become a way better defensive player over the three years he's been here. He's really learned to lateral gap and skate forwards instead of necessarily just turning and skating backwards and ending plays early. He's been a big, big part of our team."

During his time as a Red Wing, Green says he's learned a lot and has tried to become a more complete player. He may understand the business side of hockey, but he wants to stay in Detroit, a city he feels gets a bum rap.

"It really shouldn't (be knocked as a bad city/area), there is such a heartfeltness in the city once you're emerged in it you kind of feel part it." Green said. "It has really been interesting and fun to see. It's so humbling to do some of the community work here and meet a lot of the people.

"Obviously every team kind of does their community work and gives back in a form of service, but Detroit goes above and beyond and I think it's really important."

He also like this Detroit team.

"We have the ability to be fast and when we play fast I think we create a lot of confusion for the other team," Green said. "Not only that, I think we have some skill players up front that can create a lot of offense as long as we sustain pressure in the O-zone, we don't sit back on our heels and let the other team come to us. The leadership is great here and that helps out a lot."

February 26 may be several months away, but the Wings may have a difficult decision to make that day.

GLENDENING ON ABDELKADER'S HOCKEY MENTALITY: Luke Glendening and Justin Abdelkader were very good to great high school football players.

So much so, a few years back Glendening said he missed playing football because he relished the contact and hitting.

When Abdelkader heard Glendening missed football because he of the hitting and contact, he thought Glendening was nuts.

"We're professional hockey players, we are getting hit all the time," a stunned Abdelkader said.

After his recent fight with Calgary's Troy Brouwer, Abdelkader fractured his cheekbone, but he will be in tonight against the Flames, though the cheekbone will take weeks to heel.

Glendening was asked if Abdelkader playing was more of a hockey or football mentality.

"It's probably more of a hockey mentality," Glendening said. "There are a lot of injuries in hockey where people just play through. He's a tough kid, not a kid (laughs), he's a tough guy.

"But it is tough to say. I know a lot of football guys that play through some serious stuff as well."

Because of the earpiece in a football helmet, Glendening thinks playing with a fractured cheekbone could be difficult.

"The earpiece would be right on your cheekbone," he said. "We're fortunate to have him back in the lineup tonight, that they were able to figure something out that he can wear."

Does Glendening still miss not playing football?

"I do every once in a while, for sure," he said. "Hockey contact is a little different -- in football for me it was me against one guy I had to block. In hockey you get that opportunity, but not every play."

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