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At the Rink blog

Sheahan makes NHL debut for Wings

Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 1:21 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

DETROIT -- There was speculation that Riley Sheahan would make his NHL debut this past Thursday for the Detroit Red Wings, but it didn't happen.

Sheahan, however, will indeed make his debut on Sunday afternon at Joe Louis Arena against the rival Chicago Blackhawks (1 p.m. NBC, TSN2). Detroit general manager Ken Holland told Mlive.com's Ansar Khan that Sheahan -- the 21st pick of the 2010 NHL Draft -- will draw into the lineup in place of rookie Jan Mursak.

Sheahan, who just signed his entry-level contract Thursday after playing six games in Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, will most likely play on the fourth line along with fellow rookies Cory Emmerton and Gustav Nyquist.

Emmerton will probably stay at center of the line with the other two flanking him. Reporters spoke with Sheahan after his first official skate as a Red Wing on Thursday morning and he was understandably exited.

"It’s amazing," said Sheahan, a 6-foot-2, 200 pound forward who played center for three seasons at Notre Dame. "You look around the locker room and there’s so many good hockey players. It’s pretty heartwarming, I guess, and it’s a pretty cool experience."

Sheahan also feels like he can bring something to the table already for the Wings, despite his lack of pro experience.

"I feel like I can bring a big body to the team and maybe a physical presence," Sheahan said. "I’m looking forward to getting the chance and seeing what I can prove. I like to use my big body as an advantage and protect the puck and make things happen in the corners. I have to be responsible in the defensive zone."

Sheahan tallied 64 points (20 goals and 44 assists) in 114 career collegiate games. It's apropos that he makes his NHL debut against the Blackhawks, whose top two legendary players -- Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita -- went to high school and played junior hockey together in Sheahan's hometown of St. Catharines, Ont.

I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight.

— Columbus forward Nick Foligno on scoring the overtime goal after telling the Blue Jackets in the locker room that he would win the game