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Eaves Keeps Himself Prepared for Game-Action

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 5:52 PM ET
By Bill Roose - DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Sure it's frustrating, but Patrick Eaves remains positive and prepared for when he's called upon to play, as he will Saturday against Nashville. (Photo by Getty Images)
Nine different Red Wings’ players have been healthy scratches this season. But that doesn’t make forward Patrick Eaves, who has sat out the last five games, feel any better.

“There’s not really much to talk about. I’ve been waiting to get this opportunity,” said Eaves, who will play tonight against the Nashville Predators – his first time in the lineup since Nov. 15 in St. Louis. “I’ve just been staying in shape and keeping my mind in hockey mode; that’s all you can really do. You can only control what you can control.”

There was a time in Eaves’ career when he was considered a top-six forward. The Wings even tinkered with the idea in training camp of moving him up to the top forward line with Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary.

And despite signing a three-year contract worth $3.6 million last July, Eaves has appeared in just nine games with one assist and an even-rating.

But coach Mike Babcock says don’t read anything into Eaves’ situation that isn’t there.

“Eaves has been fine. The reality is the way our lineup is setup this year, I like Patty to play with two skaters,” Babcock said. “So he’s been the odd man out, not because of things he’s done. He played great in St. Louis. Other guys who aren’t quite as mobile have been using those two skaters. That’s just the way it goes.”

Against the Preds, Eaves will be paired with a pair of elite skaters in center Darren Helm and forward Jiri Hudler.

“As a player you want to play, so it's frustrating in that sense,” Eaves said. “I'm getting better every day (in practice). That's the beauty of the situation. Even though it's not what I want exactly, I'm getting better every day, I'm working hard and I'll be ready.”

Eaves replaces rookie Cory Emmerton in Saturday’s lineup. Emmerton was shaken up a bit in the third period of Friday’s 3-2 shoot-out win at Boston when he collided with Dennis Seidenberg, who received a kneeing penalty.

Emmerton said that he felt good enough to play, but Babcock made a decision to move Justin Abdelkader to the fourth line center role.

“It’s didn’t feel very good, obviously, at the start but I was fortunate,” Emmerton said. “I feel fine.”

Watch for Eaves to possibly play a physical role against Nashville. In 14 career games against the Preds, he has 23 hits, the most he’s had against any NHL opponent.

“I know the kind of player I am and the way I need to play,” he said. “That's what I try to focus on and I try to do my best at what I do.”

By the way, in case you're curious about the other eight players who have been healthy scratches, they are Fabian Brunnstrom (13), Mike Commodore (10), Emmerton (3), Drew Miller (2), Jakub Kindl (2), Tomas Holmstrom (2), Hudler (1), and Brendan Smith (1).



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80