Saturday, November 28, 2015

Eager to play against ex-team?

Ben Eager played 111 games for the Flyers before being traded to Chicago in December 2007.
Ben Eager played 111 games for the Flyers before being traded to Chicago in December 2007. JEFF CHIU / Associated Press
CHICAGO - There aren't a lot of questions about Chicago's roster heading into the Stanley Cup Finals. One variable is whether Blackhawks left winger Ben Eager will have the chance to play in front of the Flyer fans who once cheered him.

Eager has played in the last nine consecutive playoff games for Chicago as coach Joel Quenneville has taken advantage of his physical presence. Eager led Chicago with 120 penalty minutes in 60 games this season. Quenneville was making forward Tomas Kopecky his healthy scratch in the San Jose series.

Whether Quenneville changes his mind about the style of play he wants to use as well as the health of Andrew Ladd, who has been listed as day-to-day, may be factors in how much action Eager will see.

Eager has averaged 6 minutes, 33 seconds per game over a dozen games in the postseason. He and Patrick Sharp were members of the Phantoms' 2005 AHL championship team, and he played 111 games for the Flyers from 2005 to 2007 before being traded to Chicago in December 2007 for Jim Vandermeer.

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Eager said the opportunity to go up against the Flyers is enticing.

"You always want to play against your old team," Eager said. "You always get excited for it. What better place than the Stanley Cup Final?"

This season, Eager, 26, had seven goals and nine assists for Chicago. He has one assist so far in the playoffs.

Sharp played with Eager both in Philadelphia and with the Blackhawks and said Eager is one of the funniest guys he has played with in his career.

"I think the only difference in his game is that it has evolved so much more," Sharp said, comparing Eager's time in Philadelphia and Chicago. "He is capable of scoring goals, playing physically and with speed. I think he has gotten better over the years."

For The Inquirer
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