Ah, St. Patrick's Day. The day that the majority of the United States celebrates as an official drinking day. However, I also think of it in a different light given the success of one Red Wing on the ice this season.
Today is indeed St. Patty's Day, the day of celebrating Patrick Eaves. St. Patrick, the patron saint of "off-season signings that have turned into something far better than expected", casts approval upon the way that Eaves has fit in with the Red Wings.
Eaves, who is still young at only 25, has proved to be an excellent linemate to Darren Helm and Kris Draper. Between the three of them, they're probably the fastest line that any team trots out onto the ice each night. Eaves has also found a resurgence in his scoring touch. Last season with Carolina, Eaves played 74 games and racked up 6 goals and 8 assists. So far this season, he's played 55 games and totaled 10 goals and 9 assists; his best numbers since his sophomore campaign.
Aside from his statistical improvement, Eaves has quickly become a fan favorite. Night in and night out he's adding to the reasons that Detroit fans want him re-signed in the offseason.. One of the biggest examples was the fight against Kris Versteeg. Eaves threw some heavy punches and took a few himself but got up with a grin on his face and the crowd loudly voiced their approval.
More recently, Eaves proved a great individual effort against the Sabres by taking a pass from Darren Helm and pretty much singlehandedly working his way past 3 Sabres along the boards en route to the goal and putting a shot past Ryan Miller to give the Red Wings an early 2-0 lead.
The type of game that Eaves plays with hustle and determination just adds to the reasons Detroit fans are waiting for him to sign a 3 or 5 year deal for the hometown team. Add in some stats that are great for a fourth liner on a team that has struggled mightily at times and his value is incredible. Considering the Wings signed him for $500,000 from Carolina, he was an incredible bargain and worth every cent of that contract.
We all know the legendary Larry Murphy and his approval of this holiday considering following the Wings 2-1 win in Calgary he said St. Patrick's Day starts at 8 a.m. in his book. So today we tip our glasses to you, Larry Murphy. May today be a great alcoholiday for you.