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Detroit's Pearce NHL opportunity is "gravy"

by Dan Rosen
NEW YORK -- Jordan Pearce took shots Wednesday morning at Madison Square Garden from the Red Wings' injured defensemen, including Nicklas Lidstrom. He still didn't know if he was going to be making his NHL debut against the Rangers, or backing up Ty Conklin.

"I prepare the same either way," Pearce said. "If you've been around this game long enough you know crazy things happen and you have to be ready to go in at a moment's notice. It's better to just prepare like you're playing and go from there."

Pearce learned about an hour after addressing the media that he will in fact be the backup Wednesday night. Conklin cleared re-entry waivers at noon ET and will start at the Garden against the Rangers, but Pearce didn't make it sound like he would let that bother him one bit.

"It's very exciting just to be up here," Pearce said. "Being around these professional athletes it's amazing to watch them play. Some of the best players in the world are in this locker room. It's a great experience to be here."

It's an experience Pearce said he never dreamed about.

He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska watching the University of Alaska's men's team and dreaming of one day playing college hockey. That dream came true in 2005 when he went to Notre Dame. He was the starter for the Irish his last two seasons before signing a two-year entry level contract with the Red Wings.

Pearce has played mostly in the ECHL and the past two seasons with Grand Rapids in the AHL. He is 3-7-1 with a 3.53 goals-against average and .874 save percentage for the Griffins this season.

"This is all just gravy," Pearce said. "Being up here and pursuing professional hockey was beyond my dreams."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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