With all of the bad news regarding the NHL lockout, it is time to find something positive out of it. Despite the NHL not playing games, the players are spread across the world playing and training in order to be ready once a season starts.
There are three players that look to benefit from the extended off season.
Last we saw Darren Helm; he was along the boards with a Nashville player in round one of the playoffs. The result of his check ended with him catching a skate to his arm which resulted in lacerated tendons.
He has been rehabbing the injury throughout the offseason and was looking forward to the start of training camp. Last month, in an interview with the Detroit News he did admit that the arm was not 100 percent as he still feels some discomfort.
The additional time away will allow him to continue his rehab in order to help his arm get stronger.
Regardless if the season starts this year or next, Brendan Smith will be counted on to be a major factor for the defense.
A year ago the hope was that he could ease into the team’s defensive system. The retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and move of Brad Stuart hurried that timetable and the need for him step in and play at a higher level.
He is playing with the Grand Rapids Griffins during the lockout. The more ice time he gets, the more he can continue to improve his game. Through seven games this season, he has one goal and three assists to go along with a plus-three rating.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the lockout will be Brunner. He has many believing that he is the steal of this year’s free agent class. While playing another season in Europe is not something that will greatly benefit him in his effort to convert to the North American, his new teammate will.
Henrik Zetterberg may be taking on his first captain-type role as he has headed to the Swiss A league to play with Brunner. Neither of them have played in all of Zug’s games, but in a combined 18 games they already have 14 goals and 39 points.
They only have played a few games together so far but with each passing game the chemistry between them will only grow. This will not only help Brunner when he comes to Detroit but will help them form a solid line as well.
The hope is that the two sides will quickly get this figured out and that we can get back to playing hockey.
PJ Sapienza is a featured columnist covering the Detroit Red Wings as well as many other sports.
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