Kronwall cleared; Ericsson and Helm suffer injuries

Published Oct. 22, 2013 4:20 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- Just when it appeared that the Red Wings were going to catch a break, they suffered another injury setback.

Niklas Kronwall was cleared to play Wednesday night against Ottawa. But now defenseman Jonathan Ericsson will miss a minimum of two weeks with a left shoulder subluxation.

Ericsson, who was placed on short-term IR, injured his shoulder in the third period Saturday night in Phoenix when he collided with a Coyotes player.

“It felt bad right away,” Ericsson said. “After the game, it was evaluated and it felt a lot better, but the next day, it was a lot worse again.

“It’s been pretty much the same yesterday and today.”

Surgery has been ruled out, and according to Ericsson, he’ll rehab the shoulder and hope that it will respond to treatment.

When asked what the official diagnoses is called, Ericsson couldn’t remember.

“I got the word like 10 minutes ago, but I forgot about it,” Ericsson said. “It’s about a dislocation, but it’s a different word. I forgot what it is.”

Subluxation is the correct medical term for his injury, but the stark reality is, the Wings have lost a veteran defenseman on a unit that is extremely thin on experience.

“There’s no question we’re deeper on the back end,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.  “We had 500 games in league dressed or something like that last night. Stewie (Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart) probably had a thousand himself.

“When you go through it all, it's not like we’re experienced, but we have players knocking on the door that are going to be NHL players.

“That doesn’t mean that they’re going to win Cups, though.”

Detroit’s young blue-line corps played well against the league-leading Sharks on Monday. But with Kronwall back, the Wings sent rookie Xavier Ouellet back to Grand Rapids, leaving Detroit with six healthy defenseman.

Babcock amused himself when he explained that he wasn’t trying to mislead the media on Monday about Ericsson’s injury. He said that Ericsson’s MRI was pushed back because of the birth of Ericsson’s daughter, Liv.

“When I talked to you yesterday, cause I get the sense that you (media) feel that I didn’t tell you truth, he was having a baby,” Babcock said. “When I talk to you today, he had an MRI and he has a shoulder problem.

“I’m glad I cleared that all up. I feel way better about myself.”

After joking around a bit with the media, Babcock offered a serious assessment of where he believes the Red Wings team and organization are at 10 games into the NHL season.

“We have to find a way to play our team so we can have success on a nightly basis,”  Babcock said. “We’re going to continue to have change.

“As much as we got off to a fairly good start, we’re a team in flux. We’re trying to find out whom we are and how we’re going to play. That’s still a work in progress.

“You need high-, high-end players, and we feel we’re going in the right direction again. After ‘09, we thought we were going in the wrong direction as far as having a chance to win.”

Another Helm setback?

Often-injured Red Wing center Darren Helm left the ice before practice began on Tuesday with an apparent groin injury.

who was scheduled to make his season debut on
Saturday, might once again be lost to the Red Wings for an undetermined
period of time.

“He’s got a groin that’s been bothering him,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said.  “He
felt it Friday in Grand Rapids, played on Saturday. He told me Sunday it
won’t be an issue.

"It bothered him in
practice Monday and he felt it again today, so the trainers told him to
get off the ice.’’
Babcock just rolled his eyes and said, “I don’t know,” when asked about Helm’s status.

Ericsson honors Stefan Liv

Ericsson became emotional Tuesday when
talking about his new daughter, Liv, who was born Monday morning.

named his daughter after former Wings teammate and friend Stefan Liv,
who perished a little more than two years ago in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
plane crash, when Liv was a member of that Kontinental Hockey League
“We (Ericsson and fiancé, Evelina) liked the name,
but also we have a history with our very good friend Stefan Liv,”
Ericsson said as his voiced quivered.  “It’s kind of to honor him too. 
He was a really good friend -- a guy that I really respected a lot. It
kind of came natural.”  

Forty-four of the 45 passengers on
Yak-Service Flight 9633 died as a result of the crash near the Russian
city of Yaroslavl on Sept. 7, 2011.

Former Red Wings Brad McCrimmon and Ruslan Salei also died in the crash.