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Ben Eager is expected to play for Sharks in Game 3

May 20, 2011, 2:45 PM EST

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two Getty Images

It doesn’t look like the NHL will suspend San Jose Sharks troublemaker Ben Eager for his antics in Game 2, including a questionable hit on Vancouver Canucks star Daniel Sedin. That allows the Sharks to keep him in the mix tonight … but should they?

Eric Duhatschek reports that the Sharks are likely to keep Eager in their lineup in Game 3, even after his Game 2 meltdown helped trigger a disastrous third period for San Jose. In grand goon tradition, Eager had about twice as many penalty minutes (20) as he had time on ice (10:59) in that contest. Sure, he scored a goal, but that was after he drew the ire of both teams with some knucklehead play.

It looks like he hasn’t lost the respect of his coach Todd McLellan, though. Duhatschek points out that Eager’s role has expanded against a more physically demanding series against the Vancouver Canucks after playing against a more finesse-based team in the Detroit Red Wings. McLellan went as far as to call Eager one of the team’s better players (at least in a couple areas).

“I thought Ben Eager was one of our better players as far as the fore-check and creating scoring opportunities,” McLellan was saying Thursday. “He had a number of shots on goal. He played with an energy and passion required of him.

“He took penalties that he cannot take. Is he an asset or a liability? He was both last night. If we can limit the liability part, then we’ve got one heck of a player.”

If nothing else, it would be difficult for Eager to be more of a liability in Game 3 than he was in Game 2. The Sharks better hope not, or they might face the prospect of a second consecutive sweep from the Western Conference finals.

  1. govtminion - May 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    That’s… um… well, Canucks fans have to be pertty pleased to hear that anyway. So there’s that.

    Seriously, the Sharks don’t have ANYONE they can activate in his place? No one as a healthy scratch who would be an improvement over a guy who takes 20 PIM in a period? Can you get Claude Lemieux to come out of retirement again for one night or something?

    I guess the one thing that can be said is that if he’s not on his best behavior, he’s probably going to be tarred and feathered by Sharks fans by the time it’s over. Hard to believe McLellan is letting this tool back on the ice.

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