The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/22/13 at 09:29 PM ET
The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association named Patrick Eaves their nominee for the Masterton Trophy, which recognizes perseverance and dedication to hockey, because Eaves successfully recovered from a concussion that consumed 13 months of his professional career.
I don't think that anyone, including the Red Wings, imagined that Eaves would have become so invaluable to the team's penalty-killing or provide such no-frills defensive play that he'd be bumping Todd Bertuzzi and Jordin Tootoo out of the team's playoff lineup, but he's doing just that, and WXYZ's Tom Leyden penned a story about and filed a video profile of Eaves earlier this evening:
The part of the story that fascinates me is the one that came out today: Wings coach Mike Babcock readily admitted to Leyden and the rest of the press corps that the team didn't really assume that it'd be accommodating Eaves' return at the beginning of the 2013 season, but we all know that injuries hit and changed the picture significantly:
Patrick's story is certainly compelling but Mike Babcock was caught right in the middle of it. The Red Wings head coach couldn't allow compassion to be a factor in deciding who to put in his lineup.
"That's a hard decision. To me, you play when you deserve to play, not because you got injured," Babcock explained. "Patty never got a break in that way at all. Patty earned his way back. At one point to try to help him, we actually offered him to go to the minors to play a few games. He didn't want to do that."
As chance would have it, the Red Wings were plagued with injuries and Eaves stepped in.
"Next thing you know, he's back in. He's been out a little bit, but he's been in ever since and he's been a factor in these playoffs," Babcock said.
And his return to the ice has served to inspire his teammates. Another reason to win. Another reminder that determination pays off.
"It's just been a great story from how far he's come," said Justin Abdelkader. "He's playing great - some of his best hockey of his career. He's an important piece of this puzzle here in this locker room and he's been playing awesome."
While we're focusing on multimedia, WXYZ also posted a Game 4 preview...
As did Fox 2's Woody Woodrife, courtesy one Jimmy Howard...
Paul posted Gustav Nyquist's appearance on NHL Live;
Babcock appeared on The Fan 590 at noon;
If you're interested, Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating appeared on NPR's Michigan Radio today;
Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Craig Custance, Barry Melrose and Steve Levy previewed Game 4...
If you're interested, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted off-day clips of Bryan Bickell and Duncan Keith discussing his team's necessary improvements on the power play, which include him standing in front of Jimmy Howard, Brandon Saad and Keith talking about the Hawks' adjustments, a chunk of Joel Quenneville's presser and Tracey Myers' Game 4 preview;
And while they're only links, TSN posted several off-day features, including a 1:07 clip of Babcock stating that the Wings sat and watched the Hawks during the 3rd period, a 4:10 clip focusing on the Blackhawks "facing adversity," and a 2:06 clip of Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader and Babcock talking about the Wings' desire to match what Kronwall calls "a hell of a team" bringing their best in Game 4.
TSN's That's Hockey 2 Night talked about the shitty officiating in the playoffs thus far, too.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.