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Notes: Frk continues to modify his game

Rookie forward realizes teams are keying on his shot

by Arthur J. Regner @arthurjregner /

DETROIT- Martin Frk's rocket slap shot has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the NHL.

Considered to have one of the hardest shots in all of hockey, Frk has shown the ability to get his shot off quickly and accurately. However, teams are putting a player on him, which makes it difficult to find an open shooting lane, especially on the power play.

"A little bit, I guess," was how Frk responded when asked if teams are shadowing him on the power play. "Toronto there was a guy with me there, that's what happens. You just got to play differently.

"We got to find our options from the other side, the right side. It will happen in the games, they will stand there with you, but if I have the shot, I want to make sure I put it on the net or score a goal."

Whether he can get his shot off or not, he knows the Wings still have an advantage on the power play.

"If there is a guy with me, I just maybe drag him away, more on the (board) side. I just put myself completely out of the play, but they have still advantage, my guys," Frk said. "So, it will be four against three. We just got to play. Something will open up there for sure."

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is not surprised teams are keying on Frk, trying to prevent him from firing off his one-timer.

"We haven't gotten a whole bunch of opportunities to get the puck over there on the power play," Blashill said. "Certainly, teams are going to lean towards him when they can to try to take away that shot, but that's part of having a weapon on your power play.

"It should open up other opportunities for other people. He just needs to keep shooting it. When he gets those opportunities and it gets blocked, it doesn't matter, shoot it again.

"Those are hard to block over and over again. And then other guys got to make sure they make plays when they have those opportunities because of the fact they're overplaying one guy."

Detroit has many players that can shoot the puck on the power play and depending how another team is defending the Wings, it's up to the players on the ice to recognize what is going on and adjust.

"As they overplay Frky, you may have more opportunities for Greener (Mike Green) to get shots through, especially when it goes low to high and they start to sprint over and take away Frky," Blashill said. "We've talked about making sure Greener shoots it. He's got a great shot and if not, you got Larks (Dylan Larkin) and (Anthony) Mantha and whoever's in the middle, whether it's (Frans) Nielsen or (Riley) Sheahan, you should have a three-on-two or a two-on-one at that point."

Frk does enjoy teeing off and letting the puck fly towards the net, but as much as he wants to score goals, he doesn't mind being a decoy.

"We have five guys, they have four guys, someone always will be open there." Frk said about being a decoy. "Greener has a good shot, he really starts with the puck. He can do his own things there on the blue line and we have Larks on the other side, so you just got to go make the plays and if we will have the chance we can definitely score."

The Wings are 4-of-27 on the power play, which currently ranks 24th in the league, converting at 14.8 percent clip.

If the Red Wings are to be in playoff contention, their power play has to become a force. They seem to understand how teams are defending them on the power play, that's the easy part, now comes the hard part, actually improving upon one of the most critical aspects of their game, which will determine their level of success this season.

GREEN FACES OLD TEAM: Before he became a Red Wing in 2015, Mike Green was a major player with the Washington Capitals for 10 years. And with the Capitals playing the Wings tonight (Friday) at Little Caesars Arena, Green was asked if he still gets fired up to play his old team.

"Yeah absolutely, I mean you have to get charged up for every game nowadays, but yeah, I do," Green said. "Obviously, it's a challenge, they're a good team, it will be a good challenge tonight (Friday) because they're a good team."

For years, the one player most associated with Washington has been superstar forward Alex Ovechkin, of whom Green is well aware.

"He's just a threat anytime he's on the ice, especially when he gets into a shooting area with a shot like that," Green said. "It makes tough for D-men to block, forwards to get in the lane and obviously for the goalie to stop it. He's a bit of a threat anytime he has the puck."

Green has compared Frk's shot to Ovechkin's, telling reporters Friday after the morning skate.

"They are similar in ways," he said. "But obviously you're not comparing players. I think their shots are similar in a sense they're both extremely hard for goaltenders; it's hard to read off their stick."

During the course of the season, Green has counseled Frk, but he's careful not to overwhelm the rookie.

"He asks me for advice, but I don't want to overfill his head with too much," Green said. "I think you got to play the game and feel where it's good for yourself or it won't work.

"Frk's his own player and he needs to feel what's good for him; I just try help him with certain tricks I've learned over the years, that's all that is."

MANTHA VOWS TO BE BETTER: Despite having seven points in seven games including three goals for the Wings this season, forward Anthony Mantha has been disappointed in his play.

"I'll be honest, last game (in Toronto) I did not play a good game," Mantha said. "I know it, I can play way better than I did that game. I can skate more, be first on pucks with my battles.

"It was a harder night for me and I know in this league you can't have those kind of nights. You need to be focused every game and you need to be full speed."

While the game is going on, Mantha says you're aware you're not playing well, so you just have to try and elevate your play.

"You kind of learn throughout the years," Mantha said. "Let's say the first period didn't go well. What can I do?

"Thinking to yourself, talking to yourself, you just try and bring it in the second period, the next shift, the next five shifts. You go by segments and you try and get through the game."

Usually after a bad game, a player doesn't seek out advice from coaches or teammates. According to Mantha, a player needs to take responsibility for a poor performance and it's up to him to correct his lackluster effort.

"Like I said, I didn't play a great game," Mantha said. "Every player knows when they play a good one, every player knows when they play a bad one.

"For me, it's just to step it back up today (Friday) and have my best performance."

MRAZEK IN NET: Petr Mrazek will start in goal against the Capitals. Mrazek's career numbers in six games versus Washington is 2-3-0 with a 2.18 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and one shutout.

In three games played this season, Mrazek has 1-2-0 with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

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