Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009-2010 Player Profiles: Darren Helm...

OK, it’s that time of year. Hockey’s so close that you can almost taste it. By my count, there are 15 days remaining before the Wings kick off their season in Sweden (which is still entirely too many, but at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel). In order to pass the time, I’ll be posting a player profile every day until then (in alphabetical order, because I’m one of those people). I want to make it very clear that these are not predictions, because I do not, under any circumstance, make predictions. They’re simply my thoughts on each player’s performances last season, and my hopes and expectations for them this time around. Today’s subject:

Darren Helm


2008-2009 Regular Season: 16 GP, 0-1-1, +/- -7, 4 PIM
2009 Playoffs: 23 GP, 4-1-5, +/- 1, 4 PIM

Season Highlight: The Kill. Obviously.
Season Lowlight: I can’t even think of one. Maybe spending the regular season in Grand Rapids.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that there aren’t a whole lot of Wings fans who don’t like Darren Helm. Despite spending the majority of the regular season in the minors, he once again stepped up and managed to provide some of the highlights of the playoff run. His spectacular penalty kill shift immediately became the stuff of legend. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be telling my grandkids about it forty or fifty years down the road. That’s not bad for a guy who has yet to score his first NHL regular season goal. He is, however, the proud holder of the record for most playoff goals scored before tallying one in the regular season. So hang onto that little tidbit of information in case they ever release the Hockey Edition of Trivial Pursuit.

We’re all expecting good things from Helm this season. It’s a little bit unrealistic to expect him to have those kinds of epic shifts on a nightly basis, but that hasn’t stopped Wings fans from daydreaming. I think regular season Helm is going to look a little different from playoff Helm, because I don’t think it’s humanly possible to sustain the kind of energy he had in the playoffs over the course of an 82 game regular season. I’m looking for him to provide the kind of clutch play that the team needs when the game is on the line. He’s the kind of guy who can get thrown into any situation and give the team a spark when they need it most. That’s what makes him so valuable, and so darn entertaining to watch.

His shoulder injury is unfortunate, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to keep him out for any significant amount of time. He’s pretty much guaranteed a spot on the team, so his injury has very little impact in that regard. I guess this is what happens when you try to do things at 100 miles per hour, even during training camp. That’s why we love him though.

What he needs to do to make me happy: Provide that extra dash of energy and spunk when it’s needed.

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