Darren Helm

Wings coach Babcock misses ‘top-four forward’ Helm


Darren Helm isn’t the flashiest player in the NHL, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock sure misses him.

Babcock went so far today as to call 26-year-old Helm — who had nine goals in 68 games last season — “a top-four forward” on his team.

The coach must have been referring to Helm’s defensive play. Or maybe it was his work in the faceoff circle. Or his willingness to throw the body around. Or his speed.

Still suffering from back pain, Helm has only suited up once for Detroit this season. He’s not on the four-game road trip, which starts tonight in Anaheim, and there’s still no timetable for his return.

“He’s rehabbing,” general manager Ken Holland said, per the Detroit Free Press. “His feeling is that he spent a lot of time on the plane the last time going to Western Canada. He felt great going out there, but five hours on the plane back, his back seized up. We’ll see how he is early in the week. I mean, obviously if he feels great we can always get him out, but to fly out here five hours and then fly five hours back next week – he didn’t want to put his back through that again.

“Obviously, it’s a setback.”

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.