Darren Helm

After seven-game absence, Helm returns for Detroit

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Darren Helm will play for the first time in 2014 tonight when the Red Wings host the Blues at Joe Louis.

Helm, who had been on IR with a groin injury, hasn’t played since Dec. 30. The layoff marked his second significant stint on the shelf this season, as he also missed 11 games with a shoulder ailment and another 14 with back issue that lingered from the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

Getting Helm back is a huge boost for Detroit. Mike Babcock often refers to Helm as the best third-line center in the NHL and, in limited games this season, Helm has discovered a real flair for offense. He has 11 points through 16 games, which includes seven goals — pretty impressive for a guy with a career-high of 12.

What’s more, Helm’s speed and forechecking ability should help Detroit gain some extra momentum offensively. The team has struggled to put pucks in the net recently, and has just six goals in its last five games.

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.