Detroit — Martin Frk is among the Red Wings most productive players two games into the season.
After they waived him last year and had to fetch him back from the Hurricanes, the Wings are plainly pleased he is participating now.
Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are skating for cover a bit in practices with Frk’s mammoth shot. In games, he is helping lead the charge against opponents in the early going.
The Wings goal-scoring leader with two, Frk is also tied for second in points with his linemate Anthony Mantha. They have three, one behind Mike Green.
Nonetheless, Frk said he has a little reminder for himself as he prepares for the Stars on Tuesday.
“Just play good on both sides of the ice,” he said. “That’s what they want from me, and that’s what I want to be good at.
“You know, if you play good on both sides, the chances will come.
“I do not want to cheat for offense.”
Frk said it is a priority for his linemates, too, and he Mantha and Dylan Larkin all stand at plus-1 two games in.
“Our line’s playing very well so far. If we do good in the D-zone, we can play our zone more often than in their zone.
“We will get our chances, and the averages are often enough we will score.”
As for his cannonading shot — apologies to the Canadiens late play-by-play broadcaster, Danny Gallivan, who coined the term — while there is a humorous aspect to it, the goalies actually have suggested Frk might want to use practice time to work on other parts of his game.
“We’ve had some conversations about wrist shots, instead of slap shots,” coach Jeff Blashill said, smiling.
Frk understands the humor, and the potential implications of his hardest shot.
“You know, I want to practice on it,” he said. “But it’s not important to do it on them.
“We have two good goalies and you don’t want to get them hurt, right?” said the native of Pelhřimov, Czech Republic, 24.
“After practice, there is always time to shoot.”
Howard’s performance through two games is reminiscent of some his best games last season.
With the help of the goaltending coach, Jeff Salajko, Howard renovated his game and surprised the Red Wings by swiping the No. 1 job back from Petr Mrazek.
Facing an average of 38 shots in the first two games of this season, Howard stopped 77 of them, for a .961 save percentage and a 1.44 goals-against average.
His stalwart play proved necessary. Although the Red Wings are off to a nice start in garnering the all-important first goal, in both games, they came late, after Howard has faced a lot of shots.
“Obviously, there’s always going to be little things that you try to tinker with,” Howard said, of any alterations to the deeper-in-the-crease style and techniques he adopted last season.
“But pretty much straight head, really. For the most part, the same thing we tried to work on last year, we worked on this year.”
Meanwhile, he said the team is playing well.
“Guys are blocking shots. They’re playing smart 99 percent of the game,” Howard said. “We’re paying attention to the little details.
“And, obviously, special teams have been really good for us.”
Trevor Daley celebrated his 34th birthday in Detroit on Monday and then it was a return trip to the first home of his NHL career, Dallas.
“I’m excited to go back,” Daley said.
The Stars drafted Daley 43rd overall in the second round in 2002.
He debuted with them as a 20-year-old, became a regular at 22 and played his first 500 games as one of the Stars.
Traded to the Blackhawks in 2015, he barely lasted half a season before it was on to the Penguins where he won two Stanley Cups.
Daley said he is looking forward to his return to both cities, but likely for different reasons.
The Wings play in Chicago Jan. 14.
“I’ve never been back there before,” he said of the intervening season-and-a-half since the trade. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Red Wings at Stars
Faceoff: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, American Airlines Center, Dallas
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit, 97.1 FM.
Outlook: Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall (groin) is feeling better, but unlikely to play until later in the week… Jim Nill’s Stars have opened 0-2, despite significant roster improvements, including the return of Mattias Janmark. The Stars received Janmark from the Wings in the ill-fated Erik Cole trade. He missed last season with a knee injury, and scored Saturday in the Stars’ loss to the Blues.