Around that time, his father, former NHL forward Mike Eaves, bought a table tennis machine for the basement. It helped with Patrick's recovery.
"I just learned by myself in the basement with the machine," Patrick said. "It's kind of a weird story, a funky story."
Eaves' considerable table tennis skills were on display Thursday when he won the title at Smashfest IV, a charity event organized by New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore. The event featured about 30 NHL players who played in a pro-am format and then squared off against each other for the Smashfest championship.
Winning the event and the bragging rights that go with it is a big deal among the players. Table tennis has become a daily activity in dressing rooms around the League.