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Sheahan enrolls in new classroom

Prospect makes his NHL debut in Wings' season finale

Saturday, 04.7.2012 / 5:34 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Sheahan enrolls in new classroom
Riley Sheahan became the fourth Red Wings' prospect to make his NHL debut when he played in Saturday's season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – It didn’t take long for Riley Sheahan to get his name on an NHL score sheet Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the column he hoped to enter first.

Sheahan, who left the University of Notre Dame last month and signed a three-year entry-level contract to become a Red Wings prospect on Thursday, drew the game’s first penalty in the season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 20-year-old center and the Wings’ first-round draft pick in 2010, was just relieved that the bad guys didn’t score while he served a four-minute minor for high-sticking Chicago forward Jimmy Hayes.

“It was the slowest four minutes of my life, but the guys did a great job killing it off,” said Sheahan, who totaled three shots on nine shifts. “(In college) when you high-stick someone, you hit them in the cage and don’t really get a penalty for it. The guys did a good job keeping me focused and told me nice work before the penalty.”

A month ago, Sheahan was in the middle of a college semester, studying French, criminology and guitar. But making his NHL debut before a nationally televised audience with his parents in the stands was “much better than being in class.”

Sheahan was the fourth Wings’ prospect to make his league debut this season, joining defenseman Brendan Smith and centers Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson. But unlike the other rookies, Sheahan never went to training camp or played a preseason game with the guys who played with Saturday afternoon.

“To look around and see all the big name players, and realizing who you’re talking to, it’s hard not to think about what they’ve accomplished,” Sheahan said. “You’ve just got to stay focused, and try not to be star-struck. At the same time, it’s a lot of fun.”

Nervous or not, Sheahan took his first shift with 17:34 left in the first period, lining up against Michael Frolik on a face-off to the left of Jimmy Howard.

But 63-seconds later, Sheahan battled Hayes for the puck in front of the Blackhawks bench before high-sticking the Hawks’ 6-foot-6 forward in the face that drew blood and earned the Wings’ rookie his first double minor.

Sheahan, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound native of St. Catherines, Ontario, had a good scoring chance when he swatted a puck out of the air near the crease that stayed out of the net when he hit Corey Crawford’s mask.

In all, Sheahan logged just over six-minutes of ice-time while collecting three shots on goal with one hit and a blocked shot.

“I didn’t play him much, but you know a big kill for us when he took his first penalty,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “You might as well get on-board, he had a chance to score and put it off the goalie’s head. But I thought he was a big body down low who could hang onto the puck and made good decisions with the puck. The big thing for us is we don’t have a lot of big bodies in our organization, so seeing him was pleasant.”

The Wings signed Sheahan to an amateur tryout last month and assigned the big center to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League where he had a goal and an assist in seven games.

So what was the highlight of the day for Sheahan? Despite the Wings losing 3-2 in a shootout, it was the thrill of watching two of the league’s best player-makers. “Just seeing (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Patrick) Kane,” Sheahan said, “do those shootout moves at the end.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
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10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59