Wednesday evening’s game 1 match up between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings was Darren Helm’s first game in nearly a month. After suffering an MCL injury on March 17th, Helm worked painstakingly to get back into the Red Wings lineup in time for the playoffs. His efforts were rewarded with just 3:08 in ice time before suffering a far more severe injury. With just over 6 minutes remaining in the 1st period, Helm’s wrist was caught by the errant skate of Nashville’s Alexander Radulov.
As you can see in the video, Helm immediately began checking his wrist for injury before turning and racing for the bench, throwing his glove off so that he could grasp the open wound and inhibit the blood flow.
News surfaced shortly after that Helm had been taken to a nearby hospital, and following the game word spread that he was in surgery.
Following the game his teammates were somber and concerned, expressing the value of Helm’s presence in the lineup.
“…losing him hurts our team big time, especially if the games are going to keep going like this with a parade to the box. He’s a huge player on our penalty kill, a huge energy guy and he’s one of the best skaters in the league. We’d love to have him.” – Kyle Quincey
“Hopefully, he’ll be all right. If he’s not back, it’s going to be a big loss for us but we’ll get somebody else to step up for us.” – Brad Stuart
Unfortunately those hopes were dashed on Thursday, as the Red Wings announced Helm would be out for the remainder of the playoffs following surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his forearm.
If the injury sounds familiar to Wings fans it’s because it is. The now retired Mike Modano suffered a similar injury early on in last season’s campaign, forcing him to miss 3 months of action.
The injury will be a significant loss to the team. Helm was the star of the bottom 6, making everyone around him better. His penalty killing prowess was especially handy for the Wings, already down 1 PK specialist for the majority of the season. His high energy presence and hardworking attitude would have been invaluable assets for the team during this playoff run. Now they must face adversity, and as Brad Stuart indicated, someone must step up.
The good news? Helm is expected to be ready to go come training camp next season.
UPDATE: Helm is expected to be released from the hospital later today, and will stay with the team in Nashville.