The Malik Report
Red Wings mid-day mishmash: on Sheahan, DeKeyser, the Winer Classic presser and the bumpy ride ahead
by George Malik on 04/08/13 at 11:25 AM ET
Updated 5x at 4:16 PM: Jared Coreau's heading to Detroit to join the Wings and Jake Paterson's heading to Grand Rapids to join the Griffins: Amongst this morning/early afternoon's Red Wings-related news:
The Wings had recalled Riley Sheahan on an "emergency" basis as the team feared that Henrik Zetterberg (groin) might not be able to play during Sunday's 1-0 loss to St. Louis, so the press release the Wings sent out to their email list on Monday offered no surprise:
RED WINGS REASSIGN RILEY SHEAHAN TO GRAND RAPIDS
Detroit, MI... The Detroit Red Wings today announced that forward Riley Sheahan has been reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. Sheahan appeared in yesterday’s contest vs. St. Louis, logging 6:47 in ice time. The game marked Sheahan’s second NHL contest and first this season.
Sheahan is currently in his first full season with Grand Rapids. The 6-2, 212-lb. center has collected 35 points (16-19-35) and 31 PIM in 67 games this season. He is currently tied for third on the Griffins with six power-play goals and ranks second with two shorthanded tallies.
As mentioned in the overnight report, MLive's Brendan Savage penned a superb article about Sheahan whose time stamp was pushed forward to 7 AM EDT, and while Wings coach Mike Babcock deemed Sheahan to not quite be ready for prime time after a middling performance....
"He was OK, but he's going to get a trip to the minors (today)," Babcock said. "He's going to be a player for us, but he's got to get quicker and he's got to have more pace to his game. When you're ready and you come here, you show you're ready. When you're not quite, then you're going to get caught."
Sheahan assisted that his struggles to deal with much less ice time than he receives in Grand Rapids--he played 6:47 and registered a shot, a takeaway and a lost faceoff--were "on him," if you will...
"You can't have any excuses," said Sheahan, 21. "You're playing in the NHL. That's where you want to be. If you can't get up for all your shifts, I don't think you should be here. Right now, I'm just focusing on every shift, trying to do something out there and trying to use my body to my advantage. Things like that is all I'm focused on. You've just got to be so much more solid with the puck, just battling every time you have the puck. Every possession is important. Just focus on ... trying to win every battle."
And he said this about the incident which will stick with him for the rest of his career:
Sheahan hopes to rehabilitate his image, which took a considerable hit in October, when he was arrested for drunken driving in Grand Rapids. He had a blood-alcohol count of .30 – nearly four times the legal limit – after being pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
In December, he pleaded guilty to the "super drunk" offense of driving with a blood-alcohol count of .17 or higher. He was fined $1,325, agreed to complete 49 hours on a work crew, attend a victim impact class and serve 12 months or probation.
"It's all behind me now," Sheahan said. "I'm just trying to go forward and keep going and change the viewpoints of what people have of me. Playing good hockey is a good way to do that."
Savage posted a video interview with Sheahan as well:
New Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser fared better during his home-ice debut, registering 2 shots, a blocked attempt, a takeaway, a blocked shot and a -1 in 15:32 of ice time, and while he was overpowered by Chris Porter on the Blues' only goal,
Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Windsor Star's Bob Duff that he was satisfied with DeKeyser's performance (and again, as the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa suggested, it's quite evident that DeKeyser's much closer to 180 pounds than the 200-210 pounds of listed weight on his "hockey card," if you will):
“When you can skate like that . . . he made a few errant passes, but I think that was more nerves than anything else,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of DeKeyser, a Western Michigan product who was born in Detroit. “He can spin and go back in and pass it up the middle. I know our good players like D who can go get the puck and get it going, versus playing the zone coverage. I like watching him.”
DeKeyser enjoyed himself and displayed little to no nervousness regarding playing at the Joe for the first time:
“It was definitely fun,” DeKeyser said. “I wish we could have gotten a win (Sunday), but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
With each shift, he’s feeling more and more at home in the big leagues.
“The more I get out there the more comfortable I get,” DeKeyser said. “I’m just going to take it one game at a time and just try to get as comfortable as I can.
DeKeyser admitted it’s been “a little bit” of a whirlwind since he signed with the Wings two weeks ago. “But it was nothing I wasn’t expecting,” he said. “I did the best I can to just be prepared and I’ve got some stuff to work on, so I’ll just keep working every day and try to be the best I can.” He’s found the pace of the NHL game is the biggest adjustment to make.
“It’s a quicker game, so it’s important to move your feet out there and get some speed going,” DeKeyser said. “You can’t be caught flat-footed. If you’re caught flat-footed, you’re going to get beat. I just try to have tight gaps in the neutral zone and get back to pucks as best I can. That’s my game, that’s what I try to do.”
Looking back at the Winter Classic presser and the hubbub surrounding it, MLive's Savage looks at "what they are saying" about the events to come and the jerseys (this is just me, but I'd like the Winter Classic jerseys better if they ditched the "vintage cream" and went with plain old white):
• Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings captain: "I think when we come back after the summer there will probably be a lot of hype about it again, and you build up everything around. I just remember how I felt when they announced it (last year). When I went to the Big House and went on the field for the press conference there, it was real exciting. It will be a great game, and it will be a division game now as well. So it's a big game with a lot of people and it will be a lot of fun."
• Wendel Clark, former Maple Leafs/Red Wings player: "It's great to see the old Norris Division kind of getting back together with the Leafs and the Red Wings back in the same division. The rivalry was always great. Friday in Detroit, Saturday in Toronto. It was always an exciting time and it's great to be part of that again."
Again, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tom Anselmi heavily, heavily hinted that the game will kick off the 2013-2014 season schedule between Detroit and Toronto....
• Tom Anselmi, Maple Leafs president: "The two clubs have faced each other 644 times. The Leafs have won 276 and the Wings 275. This is the perfect rubber match. Our fans are thrilled about realignment. The Winter Classic will, in fact, kick off the realignment. It will be a division game and we're thrilled about that."
• Tom Wilson, president/CEO of Olympia Entertainment: "This is going to be a celebration of hockey. If you're a hockey fan of any age, it's going to be a memorable experience. It's truly going to be an amazing couple of weeks. It may be cold outside but it's going to be a hot time in Hockeytown for two weeks."
• Joe Kocur, former Red Wings tough guy. Having two alumni games "just goes to show you great both organizations are. Once a Leaf, always a Leaf. Once a Wing, always a Wing. You could probably do three or four games and not have a problem filling the lineups."
That's not a bad idea at all, and if you're interested, DetroitHockey.net's Clark Rasmussen penned a "Detailed Look" at the Wings and Leafs' jerseys for Sportslogos.net...
Blues 1, Red Wings 0
* Chris Porter: 2nd goal this season (both have been game-winning goals)
* Porter: 3 points last 3 games (2 points 1st 15 games this season)
* Blues: 4th straight win following 3-game losing streak
* Red Wings: 2-4-0 in last 6 games overall
Not good not good.
Looking forward, NHL.com's Dan Rosen believes that 12 players and coaches will play huge roles in determining whether their teams make the playoffs and/or make significant impacts come playoff time, and he's included an obvious choice as the Red Wings' representative:
3. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings: If the Red Wings are going to make the playoffs for a record 22nd straight season, it's on Babcock to find the right combinations down the stretch to get the most out of his aging and battered team.
Babcock recently reunited forwards Pavel Datsyuk with Henrik Zetterberg, a move that has seemed to energize both while giving added responsibility to Johan Franzen, who moved to center the second line.
Babcock has to figure out how much faith to put in rookie defenseman Danny Dekeyser, who has impressed in two games since signing a two-year contract late last month. If Dekeyser can help the blue line, Babcock has to let him mature in a playoff race, never an easy thing to do for a coach.
(Yes, Rosen spells it "Dekeyser" and not "DeKeyser," but it's better than Mike "Doc" Emrick's "DEL Keyser," which will clearly be Taco Bell's "next big thing"...)
- Most scouts think Danny DeKeyser, who played strongly in his first NHL game for the Detroit Red Wings Friday against the Colorado Avalanche and was out there a fair bit against St. Louis Sunday, figures to be a third pairing NHL defenceman. Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said he was going to be a “good player for a long time,” but he doesn’t have the high-end game Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz displayed when he was a free agent coming out of college. He’s good, though.
But I'm going to have to roll my eyes regarding this suggestion regarding Ryan Miller's almost inevitable departure from Buffalo...
Who needs a goalie? Maybe St. Louis. Calgary does if Miikka Kiprusoff retires, but with Miller’s no-trade clause — he can list eight teams he won’t play for — he’s not waiving it to go there, is he? The Detroit Red Wings will need a goalie if they don’t want to pay UFA Jimmy Howard $5 million to $5.5 million a year. The Edmonton Oilers? Hey, anything’s possible, although they have hitched their wagon to Devan Dubnyk, but only for a two-year contract at $3.5 million a season.
Just no. Howard wants to stay in Detroit, Ken Holland's repeatedly stated that the Wings want to keep Howard, and Howard's both three years younger than Miller and is expected to sign for at least $750,000 less than Miller's current $6.25 million salary...
And you may take this for what you will given that Matheson's been at the forefront of the, "Valtteri Filppula won't stay in Detroit because he wants $5+ million and the Wings won't give it to him" movement:
Will Gagner be gone? The Edmonton Oilers have a thorny issue with centre Sam Gagner this summer. His contract is up, but in one more year he will be an unrestricted free agent at age 25, with seven years of NHL experience. Do the Oilers sign him for four or five years, eating well into his unrestricted free-agent status or do they trade him?
Gagner’s marketability has never been higher. The Detroit Red Wings will need a centre if they don’t re-sign UFA Val Filppula, so will the Washington Capitals if Mike Ribeiro leaves. Same story in Columbus, with Blue Jackets’ Derick Brassard gone to the New York Rangers for Marian Gaborik. How about the Nashville Predators or the Winnipeg Jets? And in Anaheim if veteran Ducks forward Saku Koivu retires?
If it was my choice, I would keep Gagner. He’s a leader without a letter on his jersey, and I think he’d do just as well on the wing, where faceoff wins and losses aren’t hanging over his head. But we also know it’s better to trade a player a year before UFA status than a few months from it.
Matheson's one of my favorite columnists, but he's been trying to invent scenarios in which the Oilers move Gagner and Ales Hemsky for two years now, so I'd suggest that speculation's speculation and nothing more, at least for now.
Update: According to the Marquette Mining Journal's Matt Wellens, Red Wings signee and Northern Michigan University goaltender Jared Coreau is heading to Detroit today, and he may or may not stay with the Wings or head to Grand Rapids. The 6'5," 200-pound goalie discussed his situation with Wellens next week, and Wellens added some notes from last week's interview to the mix:
The Final Four: Based on my conversation with Coreau, the final four franchises it came down to were Detroit, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, in that order. Coreau attended camps last summer in both Calgary and Edmonton. His knock against Calgary was the amount of solid young goaltenders already in their system. As for Edmonton, he had this to say:
“A great organization, we just really couldn’t come to terms on some things,” Coreau said.
Coreau said Winnipeg and Detroit were both very similar, but the proximity of the Red Wings AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids to the Jets’ AHL team in St. John’s, Newfoundland, tipped the scales.
“The big thing for me is the opportunity,” Coreau said. “Winnipeg and Detroit, the situations were identical. They both have an NHL starter — Jimmy Howard and Ondrej Pavelec — and they both have a backup goalie in the NHL that will be there for a year and then want to go and start somewhere. In the A, there is both a starter and a backup. Winnipeg for example, they’re two plane rides. It’s still a great organization. That was a big thing. Staying in Michigan is pretty nice too.”
The Blashill factor: NMU head coach Walt Kyle pushed Coreau toward the Wings organization, according to Coreau, and the Griffins’ head coach Jeff Blashill may have been a reason why.
“I’m really excited about (Blashill) being my new coach and Walt said a lot of great things about him,” Coreau said. “They are really high on him in Detroit.”....
“Blashill used to be a goalie, which really caught my eye,” Coreau said. “I guess when someone lets in a bad goal, he understands. He’s been there. Every goalie has. I’m not asking for sympathy, but he gives his goalies a chance. He’s a winning coach. He’s proven that. He did it when I was in the USHL in Indiana. He went to Western, they were a losing team before and now they’re a top 10 team in the country every year and he only spent one year there.”
According to Wellens, Coreau had some difficulties in terms of withdrawing from his accounting courses at NMU, and he'll attempt to enroll at Grand Valley State University to pursue a marketing degree instead, with a high likelihood of being able to complete his degree within three fall/winter terms.
Update #3: Something tells me that Coreau will remain with the Wings, because Saginaw Spirit goalie Jake Paterson just Tweeted that he's going to join the Griffins for the remainder of the season:
Savage posted a video interview with DeKeyser, too:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.