Babcock on Sheahan: “He’s got to get quicker and he’s got to have more pace to his game.”

DETROIT – Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wanted to see what rookie forward Riley Sheahan had to offer.

After 11 shifts and just under seven minutes of ice time Sunday against the St. Louis Blues, Sheahan quickly found out he was heading back to play in the American Hockey League.

“He was OK, but he’s going to get a trip to the minors (Monday),” Detroit coach Mike 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.

Sheahan, who indeed was shipped back to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Monday, had just one shot on goal in his second appearance with the Wings.
Last year he appeared in one game in Detroit, drew a double minor and had three shots on goal.

“When you’re ready and you come here, you show you’re ready,” Babcock said. “When you’re not quite ready, then you’re going to get caught.”
With the Griffins, Sheahan has 16 goals and 19 assists in 67 games. He’s also a minus-7 with 31 penalty minutes.

“I want to be here,” Sheahan said. “It’s every kid’s dream to be in the NHL. I’m just going to keep working hard from here and we’ll see what happens.

“You just have to be so much more sound with the puck (in the NHL),” Sheahan added. “Every time you have the puck, the point of possession is very important. You just have to focus on being hard on your stick and just try and win every battle.”

Sheahan feels comfortable with the defensive part of his game; it’s the offensive side of things he’s more focused on.

“My biggest concern is just keep putting points up offensively,” Sheahan said. “I think my defensive game has come a long way, I’m confident there, I just have to keep going offensively and right now I’m just looking at the present and not focused on what happens in the future.”

Sheahan, who was the Wings’ first pick in the 2010 draft, 21st overall, out of Notre Dame, may be more known for his off-ice issues.

Last October he was arrested for drunken driving in Grand Rapids and had a blood-alcohol level of .30, which is nearly four times the legal limit. He was pulled over after driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

When he was pulled over he identified himself as Brendan Smith and was wearing a purple Teletubbies costume.

In December he pleaded guilty to the “super drunk” offense, was fined $1,325, agreed to complete 49 hours on a work crew, attend a victim’s impact class and serve 12 months of probation.

“It’s all behind me now,” Sheahan said. “I’m just trying to go forward. I’m trying to change the viewpoints of what people have of me. I think playing good hockey is a good way of doing that.”


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