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Shoulder likely sidelines Helm 2-4 weeks

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Jeff Blashill hopes the Red Wings won't be without Darren Helm for very long. It was learned Saturday that the veteran forward has a slightly separated shoulder. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Friday’s violent on-ice collision involving Darren Helm and Jerome Verrier was worse than anybody first imagined.

Original reports claimed Helm was day-to-day with a concussion and Verrier suffered a fractured right tibia.

But Saturday morning, general manager Ken Holland provided an update on Helm, saying the Red Wings’ forward also sustained a slight shoulder separation and will miss the next 2-4 weeks.

However, coach Jeff Blashill was less alarmed by Helm’s shoulder injury.

“I don’t think the shoulder will hold him back any longer than whatever coming back from a concussion is. That’s my understanding,” the coach said Saturday afternoon.

The Red Wings open the regular season in less than three weeks against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 9. The Wings already know they will open the season without veteran center Pavel Datsyuk, who is ecovering from ankle surgery in June. Now, they may also be without Helm for perhaps the first week.

“Right now he’s out and other guys earn the spots,” Blashill said.

Holland did not see the hit when it occurred, though he did watch a replay.

“They were both going at a pretty high speed and they were both going in an opposite direction,” Holland said. “Somebody went in the wrong lane and they were both going at full speed. Neither had a chance to brace, they just collided.”

Verrier, who underwent surgery at Munson Medical Center this morning, was also concussed as a result of the collision at Centre Ice Arena.

The 21-year-old Verrier was a camp invitee from Drummondville, Quebec, attending his second main camp with the Wings, hoping to earn a minor-league contract this time around with the organization.

Since late in the 2011-12 season, Helm has been injury-plagued, dealing with a sprained knee, lacerated forearm, ruptured disk and concussion. Since then he’s played in 118 out of a possible 225 regular-season games.

Ryan Sproul's goal in the second period helped Team Delvecchio inch closer in the Red Wings' intra-squad scrimmage. But it wasn't enough as Team Lindsay claimed a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DAY 2 SCRIMMAGE: Two periods weren't enough time to decide Saturday’s scrimmage between Team Delvecchio and Team Lindsay.

Louis-Marc Aubry and Nick Betz sparked Team Lindsay to a 2-0 lead, before Tomas Jurco cut the lead to 2-1.

Brendan Smith restored Team Lindsay's two-goal lead with a nice individual effort. But Ryan Sproul and Tomas Tatar scored late in the second to tie it, forcing a shootout, to the fans' delight at Centre Ice Arena.

Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg kept it a tie, scoring for Team Delvecchio and Team Lindsay, respectively.

Finally defenseman Jakub Kindl scored top-shelf in the fifth round to give Team Lindsay the win.

Jurco, moved to Team Delvecchio after Helm's injury, played with Tatar and center Brad Richards. Jurco had a goal and two assists.

“Jurcs is one of those guys that’s in a spot and he knows it,” Blashill said. “He’s had an opportunity to play up here for a year and a half, basically. When he left us in Grand Rapids, my second year, he was a point-per-game in the league. He was starting to evolve into a real go-to player. I think the first couple of years he survived and I think he’d like to take that next step. But in order to do that, he as to earn that ice time. He knows that. He’s got real good speed. He’s got a good skill set. He’s got size. So those are three real good assets. I hope he can continue and play like he did today.”

FROM RUSSIA: Without Datsyuk skating in camp, rookie defenseman Alexey Marchenko said it’s good that another Russian player has been on the ice.

Evgeni Svechnikov, the Red Wings’ first-round pick in last June’s NHL draft, is participating in his first pro camp. The two young Russians are rooming together this week in Traverse City.

“I think it’s great to have one more countryman,” Marchenko said. “I hope he’s going to make the team one day and we’re going to play together. It’s great to spend time together and to speak your own language.”

SAY CHEESE: Saturday morning, rookie Dylan Larkin was talking about his first taste of professional hockey, which came last spring when the former University of Michigan standout made the jump from college to the American Hockey League.

As Larkin described Blashill’s comforting demeanor that helped him gain confidence sooner rather than later, he said he has a wish for his former AHL mentor turned NHL head coach.

“One thing with Blash is he’s been pretty serious,” Larkin said. “I’d like him to smile a bit more and have some fun. I think it’s the NHL so he’s taking it seriously and trying to get the guys ready.”

For Blashill, there’s a time and a place.

“My wife would like to see me smile more, too,” he said. “But I’m somebody who when it’s time to go to work, we go to work and when it’s time to have fun I certainly have fun.”

Luke Glendening has been moved from center, where he has played the last two seasons with the Red Wings, to right wing on a line with Johan Franzen and Riley Sheahan. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

CHANGING PLACES: Former coach Mike Babcock turned Luke Glendening into a fourth-line center. It’s a position that the former Michigan captain has excelled at since joining the Red Wings during the 2013-14 season.

But in Blashill’s camp, Glendening is playing right wing, opposite Johan Franzen on a line centered by Riley Sheahan.

“It's different but I'm trying to get used to it,” Glendening said. “That's what I played until I turned pro so it should be an easy transition.”

According to Glendening, the biggest adjustment he has to make is, well, nothing really.

“It's a lot of the same,” he said. “It's easy with me and Riley out there, we can play either one. Whoever gets back first can play low and just work from there.”

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