Originally written March 19, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- The Red Wings received more bad news Monday, when they learned that Darren Helm would be out four to six weeks with a knee injury. An MRI exam Monday morning revealed a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in Helm's left knee. Helm, Detroit's third-line center, was injured on a hit by Dominic Moore in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in San Joes. Helm, known for his speed and energy, is integral to Detroit's penalty kill. Lidstrom skates without pain As they continue to hobble along, the Red Wings finally received some good news Monday when captain Nick Lidstrom was able to skate without pain. Its encouraging (to participate in the morning skate) compared to where it was Wednesday morning in LA, where I couldnt stand on my foot when I had my skate on, Lidstrom said. Thats an improvement for sure, where I was able to skate out there, pivot and do some turns. This is uncharted territory for Lidstrom, who on Monday will miss his career-high 10th consecutive game because of a deep bone bruise suffered Feb. 25 when a puck struck him directly in the right ankle. Several X-rays have shown no break in the ankle. Hes never been out for a significant length of time until now, so he seems at a loss for words when asked about his return to the Red Wings' lineup. As far as being able to play again, thats going to be up to the coaching staff and the trainers, Lidstrom said. "Hopefully, itll feel real strong in one practice and itll carry over to even feeling better the next day. Thats how you want to improve. Sitting in the press box or watching the games at home on television hasn't been easy for Lidstrom. Its been difficult," he said. "I want to get back before the playoffs. I want to get some games in before the playoffs start. You dont want to get too long of a break, where you kind of get rusty and lose the game tempo. Its a fine balance when youre hurt and you want to get back. At this point, Lidstrom is hoping to participate in a full practice Tuesday. If he feels well enough and can skate, hell travel to New York for Wednesday's game against the Rangers, even though he likely will not play. Other Injuries Johan Franzen (back spasms), defensemen Jakub Kindl (oblique strain), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist) and goalie Joey MacDonald (back spasms) will all miss Monday's game against the Washington Capitals. MacDonald was sent for an MRI on Monday, and the Wings are awaiting the results. Babcock has never let injuries be an excuse for his teams poor play, but you could tell that he's irritated. Even seeing Lidstrom on the ice didnt appear to uplift his spirits. It was good (seeing Lidstrom on the ice)," Babcock said. "It didnt look like he was anywhere close (to coming back), but at least he was out there. "I didnt talk to him or ask him about it. Im sure when he starts to get involved in stuff, well know. Its nice. Wed like to get him back. Wed like to get everyone back. No time for sluggish Detroit has lost four games in a row -- all on the road, including a week-long California trip that saw them earn one point. Usually when a team returns from a long trip, conventional wisdom is that they might be sluggish their first game back home. Can't happened, said Babcock. When you come off a road trip and youre rolling right along, you might not have energy," he said. "That might be one thing. Were not rolling right along. We need wins. Were a team that needs to find a way to win some games. Were probably a little fragile right now. We need to start feeling good about ourselves." Franzen hopeful Detroits leading goal scorer, Franzen (26 goals), said his back is feeling much better, and he hopes to return to the lineup Saturday against Carolina. Franzen has had back spasms and Monday will miss his second consecutive game. When ask when he would go back on the ice he replied, Soon, within the next day hopefully. Franzen said that he hasnt had any tests done on his back because it feels better every day.

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