- Craig Custance
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DETROIT -- The hours and days that have passed since Alexander Radulov's skate sliced Darren Helm's arm haven't helped ease the pain. Physically or emotionally.
On Monday afternoon, the Red Wings forward sat in front of the media, a black immobilizer protecting his right forearm, and shared his thoughts on the moment that ended his postseason.
"I don't think I've really gotten over what happened," Helm said. "I'm pretty angry with the situation. It still hurts quite a bit. Pain-wise it still hurts a lot. Having to watch is the worst thing of all."
Helm battled back from a knee injury that kept him out nearly a month. But he beat projections and returned to the lineup for Game 1 in Nashville, only to have his season end after playing just 3:08 against the Predators. He had surgery that night to repair the sliced tendons in his arm.
He first was concerned about his injury and wondered about the severity of the cut. When he got word from doctors that he'd make a full recovery, the disappointment of missing the playoffs quickly set in.
He's expected to miss a good three to four months before being completely healthy. He'll have to wear the giant black brace on his arm for four to six weeks. When he returns to the ice, he'll be wearing Kevlar sleeves to protect his arms from a repeat injury.
Helm's injury has given the talented Gustav Nyquist an opportunity to make his playoff debut and he earned time in Game 3 with the Red Wings' top line. He's bounced between the first and third lines, with coach Mike Babcock saying he'll continue to give the best players the most playing time moving forward. During Monday's practice, Danny Cleary occupied the third spot with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.
"For me, I"m excited every time I get on the ice," Nyquist said. "If I play with Pavel and Mule, maybe I try to
go to the net as much as possible to try and get space for them. They're very good at cycling the puck down low and making plays down there."
Predators defenseman Hal Gill joined the team for part of Monday's practice and coach Barry Trotz said that Gill continues to be day-to-day in his recovery from a lower-body injury.
"He actually stayed out there quite awhile," Trotz said. "He was out there early."
If he's able to go in Game 4, he'll be able to ease some of the pressure on Shea Weber and Ryan Suter when the Predators are killing penalties. At the very least, his presence on Monday provided a boost for Nashville.
"First of all, it was nice to see him on the ice this morning," said Nashville defenseman Francis Bouillon. "He didn't make all the practice. Nice to see him skate. He's a huge piece for our team defensively."
Another close loss for the Wings
Detroit's loss to the Predators in Game 3 was their 10th consecutive playoff loss by one goal. The last time an opponent beat the Red Wings in the playoffs by two or more goals was April 25, 2010, when the Coyotes beat them 5-2 in Game 6.
For Mike Babcock, it's another reminder of just how delicate the balance between success and failure during the playoffs has become.
"There's not many series going on where they score a touchdown each game; [Pittsburgh and Philadelphia] is the first one in a long time," he said. "One shift is going to turn the game."
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said the stat points out the danger of surrendering an early lead and trying to play catch-up during the postseason, something Detroit had the talent to do during the regular season.
"We've been trying to come back from behind and not having the lead in some of the games, that's hurting you," Lidstrom said.
Klein gets grief from back home
Predators defenseman Kevin Klein was teased by teammates for his breakaway goal in Game 3, with some suggesting he blacked out before scoring. He said he's taking more heat from friends and family back home for his playoff mohawk.
"Surprisingly, a lot of people back home, friends and stuff, didn't really know [about the haircut]," he said. "I'm in Nashville, we don't get coverage back home in Canada. It's pretty funny, a lot of guys were laughing."
He's been accused of removing his helmet during games to make sure his mohawk gets camera time and confessed on Monday that it's true.
"In the first period, during the second TV timeout, they come and interview a guy," Klein said. "I'll move next to the guy, nod my head and show off the mohawk to get a laugh."
Red Wings forward Darren Helm is dealing with bittersweet feelings while having to sit out as his arm laceration heals, writes Craig Custance.