At least Wings know they can compete with Bruins
DETROIT — What does it mean that the Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins in three of the four games they played in the regular season?
Not nothing, but not a whole lot either.
"If we could take three wins with us into the series, it would be great, but we can’t," defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "Those are thrown out the window. The first to four wins."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard agreed with that assessment.
"Those wins mean nothing right now," Howard said. "It’s going to be a totally different beast when we walk in there Friday. We’re going to have to weather the storm the first 10 minutes of Game 1. That’s going to be very important. We’ll just get through that and play."
But the fact that the Wings were competitive with the team that won the Presidents’ Trophy does mean something.
"The only thing is, we know we can beat them," Daniel Alfredsson said. "Other than that, it’s a new season. What you’ve done before doesn’t really matter. You don’t get any style points for winning the season series.
"We’re going to have to start fresh and steal Game 1 in Boston. That’s our only focus from now on."
HELM THE X-FACTOR?
Remember when Darren Helm showed up for the playoffs in 2008 and helped the Wings win the Stanley Cup?
It probably feels like a lifetime ago to Helm, who was just 21 then.
Helm played in the playoffs the next three seasons without any problems.
Then he fought to come back from a late-season knee injury and returned for Game 1 of the playoffs in 2012 in Nashville, only to have disaster strike.
An errant skate cut Helm’s tendon in his wrist, putting him out for the rest of the playoffs — short-lived as it was for the Wings.
"Luckily they had an unbelievable hand doctor there and put me back together, and I owe a lot to him," Helm said. "But that was a real fluky thing. They happen sometimes but not often."
Last season, a back injury forced Helm to miss all the action, including upsetting Anaheim in the first round and taking Chicago to overtime of Game 7 in the second round.
"It wasn’t easy for myself to miss those playoff runs, especially last year, which was really exciting to watch," Helm said. "Seeing what the guys did and almost what they accomplished there with the young guys and how exciting it was.
"Now I got the chance again to get into this lineup with this younger team that we have, exciting team, and I’m looking forward to it."
Helm missed a lot of time this season because of a groin injury and a concussion, but coach Mike Babcock believes he can be a factor.
"Obviously, Helmer is a huge part of our team and can be a very, very special player," Babcock said. "He’s going to be that much better next year because he’ll have the first opportunities to train for years in the summer.
"But with his speed and his tenacity, he’s gotta play a simple game and go out there and help us out."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard knows what an asset Helm can be.
"He’s going to be extremely important, especially with his speed on the penalty kill, getting up ice, disrupting power plays," Howard said. "Whether he’s breaking out or back-checking, he uses his speed to his advantage.
"He can flat out fly, with or without the puck. With a team as big as Boston it’s going to be a key."
Although they might not be as fast as Helm, some of the young kids the Wings have give the team added speed, something that could be beneficial against a team like the Bruins.
"Boston’s not slow by any means, but we can use our speed to be effective, whether it’s through transition or breakouts or being hard on the puck in the backcheck and forecheck," Helm said. "There’s different ways that we can use our speed to be effective. If we do that, good things will happen."
HAPPY FOR BLASHILL
More than a few of the current Red Wings have spent a lot of time with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, and they were delighted that he won the AHL Coach of the Year award.
"It’s a great honor going to a great coach," Luke Glendening said. "He has done so much for me in the year and a half, two years that I’ve known him."
When asked about making the transition from the AHL to the NHL, Tomas Jurco said having several of his Griffins teammates helped, but there was a bigger factor.
"I would say a big part of it is Blash," Jurco said. "He’s preparing us the right way to be as ready as we can when we jump into the NHL."
Babcock, who had Blashill on his staff for one season, realizes that Blashill might not remain in the organization long-term.
"He’ll get an NHL opportunity, I assume, eventually," Babcock said. "He’s a smart guy, he’s well prepared. I remember when I hired him a few years back, at that time we thought he was a high-end coach and serial winner, and he’s showing that he’s gone on to do the same thing."