Injuries aplenty, but Helm and Bertuzzi set to return to Red Wings

DETROIT - Injuries were expected to be a part of the shortened NHL season, but the way the Red Wings have been hit in the first week has been incredible.

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo is out for weeks with an injured shoulder, Jonathan Ericsson is expected to miss Friday's game against the Wild with his agging hip, and Ian White suffered a deep gash in his knee that will keep him out the next two weeks.

Those injuries already added to the long list from camp.

"We're not the only ones that have been damaged a little bit, but all of us that are playing have to a better job of winning games. That's the bottom line," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

Todd Bertuzzi will play tonight after missing the first week of the season with a bout with the flu perceived to be so bad it was originally diagnosed as mono. Jakub Kindl will play after being sidelined with a groin injury.

The Red Wings will also get Darren Helm back for the first time this season tonight, after the forward injured his back in workouts before the brief training camp.

"It's been a long time since I've been healthy, dating back to last year," Helm said.

"Absolutely I'm anxious to get out there and start."

Mike Babcock said ideally, it'd be great to have everyone healthy, but it's "not reasonable" for the quick pace to the 48-game slate.

Kronwall said Helm provides a boost by just being in the lineup.

"He gives everything he's got, every shift of the game, and all the guys feed off that," he said.

Detroit will also have a different look up front thanks to a major line shift. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have been split up, and Datsyuk will center Valtteri Filppula and Bertuzzi. Zetterberg will skate between Johan Franzen and Damien Brunner.

The Red Wings play the Minnesota Wild Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Detroit's first home game Tuesday saw a lackluster offensive effort resulting in the team's second loss of the season.

"We had a day to freshen up. There's no reason we don't play really well," Babcock said.

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