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Wings’ Babcock doesn’t think Helm will play again this year

Apr 9, 2013, 12:49 PM EDT

Helm

Sounds as though the Detroit Red Wings and Darren Helm are ready to wave a white towel on his frustrating campaign.

That’s what head coach Mike Babcock suggested on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t expect the speedy forward to suit up again this season.

“He’s not going to play hockey, right, this year, I don’t think,” Babcock told MLive.com. “We got to get ourselves in the playoffs and be ready to go without him.”

Helm has only played one game this season — a Jan. 25 win over Minnesota — due to chronic issues and setbacks with a back injury.

The 26-year-old has undergone a battery of tests and visited several specialists, but hasn’t received a diagnosis beyond “a slight tear in a disc and inflammation,” according to MLive.

Helm’s latest setback occurred on Mar. 18, while practicing with the club.

The loss is a profound one for Detroit, as Babcock often refers to Helm as the “best third-line center in the NHL.”

Helm is the Wings’ fastest forward and, despite is relative young age, one of the club’s most vested playoff performers. He has 65 games of postseason experience to his credit — including a Stanley Cup in 2008 — and scored a career-high six points in 11 games during the 2010-11 run.

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