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-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Helm's Magical Mystery Tour

Apparently, the Magical Mystery Tour is taking Darren Helm very, very far away from us.

Amid the confusion of the Dan Cleary signing and who will be sent down and who will remain on the roster to get to the correct number of players and under the salary cap, fans can’t help but wonder whether we will ever see Helm play another game–at least anytime soon.

For a while there, it seemed as though things were looking up for Helm. He was practicing more than he had in the past year and fans tried to not show their excitement for the speedster’s potential return.

And then the day before training camp officially started, Helm suffered a pulled groin that sidelined him. He missed training camp. He’s barely practiced and if he has, there has been no physical contact.

According to Ansar Khan over at MLive, Darren Helm skated with the team on Wednesday for the first time. The timetable on his return, however, is still a mystery. It’s still his back that’s the problem and he has not pushed himself to test it out. He’s still not cleared for physical contact and the more you read up on his current predicament, the more it sounds like he will be on LTIR for the start of the season.

So will we ever see Helm play?

It’s a fair question. Whenever he comes back, fans must keep in mind that he really hasn’t played in over a year and a half. He will more than likely look rusty. But much like Patrick Eaves–and even to an extent, Andreas Lilja–seeing them return to play after an extended time is good enough and a bit of a relief.

If he can come back and stay healthy, that would be a dream come true. While the Red Wings’ penalty kill has finally bounced back from Helm’s initial absence, they still miss his speed. Players like Cory Emmerton are able to fill his shoes on the penalty kill. But we still miss Helm’s phenomenal penalty killing ability. Standing ovation penalty killing ability.

We shouldn’t hold our breath for a quick return from Helm, but whenever he does come back, Hockeytown will be glad…and then wonder how he’ll fit into the lineup and who will be sent down/traded to make room for him.

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