Darren Helm Part One: Penalty Kill Analysis


March 4, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

I’m going to change things up a little bit today.  Instead of doing my usual Sunday Goal Analysis post, I’m going to do a two-part post per a request from the twitter.  We’re going to take a look at Darren Helm’s amazing penalty kill shift today and his OT goal from the 2009 playoffs against Chicago later in the week.  Ah, mocking Chicago and watching Helm be awesome…I love being a blogger.  Anyway, let’s get on with it…

Here’s the video of Helm completely owning five Blackhawks players while shorthanded:

“A shift for the ages!”  Damn right.  Let’s begin the analysis!

We start with a 3 on 3 puck battle in the Wings defensive zone (from left to right: Rafalski, Stuart, Maltby) with Dangerous Helm covering the slot.  Great puck support in the corner with Helm watching out front.  Perfect set up.

The puck comes out to the front where Helm picks it up.  Knowing three Chicago players are caught, Helm can easily skate the puck up the ice instead of just icing it right away.  Maltby joins him, meaning the Blackhawks defensemen are forced to skate back to defend the two on two.

Helm carries the puck into the Chicago zone with Maltby providing support.  Brian Campbell (hahahaha) takes away the center of ice and doesn’t apply much pressure to Helm.  Mr. Danger sees this and goes towards the boards while Maltby goes wide to take the other Chicago defenseman with him.

Helm beats Campbell on the outside (because Helm rules and Campbell sucks).  Maltby circles around the net and goes to the bench to change.  This  leaves the four Blackhawks in the frame plus one more to defend against Helm.  Should be able to get out of this pretty easily, right?  Oh yeah, they’re Chicago and have Brian Campbell.

Yep, the screencap above shows 5 Blackhawk players (not including the goaltender) and just Helm for the Wings.  You can see Helm with his head up looking for his teammates, but with nobody to pass it to, he decides to just hang on to it as long as he can.  Great way to kill the clock on the penalty kill.

After a couple of quick stops/starts, Helm has three players on him.  The Hawks have him defended well and are about to knock Helm off the puck.

The two Hawks players (after Campbell skated away for some reason) get the puck and Patrick Sharp has the opportunity to clear it.  Which, you know, is funny because he’s on the team with the power play and is working against just one player.  However, yeah, Helm is better than him at being a bulldog and does what Helm does.  Also, notice the two Hawks players in front of the net.  FORESHADOWING!

Both Chicago players in front of the net are on their way behind the net.  This is because Sharp had the puck for a second and they were trying to give him an outlet pass.  Too bad for them Helm got the puck back and now has a clear lane to the net.

Helm takes the puck to the net, but because we all know he has absolutely no hands, he does not score (yet).  As is the norm for this post, you have all five Hawks players in close proximity to Helm even though Helm still has the puck.  I approve of this plan.  Also, take note that Zetterberg has entered the picture, and even though he isn’t directly involved in this play, it just shows how awesome of a job Helm did playing against five players by himself for quite a while, in hockey terms.

The puck rebounds to Patrick Sharp, but Helm is awesome and lifts his stick.  Sharp and Helm then chase the puck into the corner.  Hmm, who wins that race?

Yep, Helm battles Sharp and wins.  Notice how after Sharp gets hit by Helm, he’s now got his back to Mr. Danger.  At this point, he’s basically saying “F__k this, I quit” while Helmer continues to eat up the remaining time on the penalty by dragging the puck back down low.

Brian Campbell decides he wants to be involved in the play again!  Totally worth that $7.1M cap hit (proof).  Helm, being awesome and aware of his surroundings, notices Campbell coming in.  At this point, Helm is probably exhausted and if he just pushed the puck ahead and changed, it would be totally acceptable.  But…that’s not how Helm plays the game!

Yeah, Helm ducks under Campbell while maintaining control of the puck.  I love how Hank is following the play just in case, but Helm is all like “I GOT THIS!”.    So, what happens next? (Also, if you’re still reading this, you must think I’m hilarious!  Or, you probably just really like Helm…crap.)

Helm easily gets past Campbell and Barker meets him behind the net.  Barker gets his body on Helm, and as the next shot shows, FINALLY knocks the puck more than a few feet away.

Amazing.  Just…amazing.  Helm got the puck with 33 seconds left on the PK, and lost it for good with 8 seconds left.  My accounting degree tells me he killed off 25 seconds of a power play BY HIMSELF.  That’s almost unheard of these days.

To summarize:

  • Helm and the Wings started off in perfect position in the defensive zone.
  • Helm had plenty of room so he skated the puck down the ice instead of just icing it.
  • Helm destroyed Brian Campbell and Patrick Sharp multiple times.
  • Helm shows that he is one of the hardest working players and never gives up on the puck.
  • I’ve watched this video multiple times and still absolutely love it.

And this concludes part of the Darren Helm Game 5 2009 WCF Analysis!  Check back later in the week for the breakdown of his OT goal to win the series over Chicago!

Until next time…

HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE!

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