DALLAS – As the saying goes, if it weren’t for bad luck Dallas Stars forward Patrick Eaves wouldn’t have any luck.
Eaves is recovering from a concussion and a swollen jaw and will miss his second and final chance to face-off against his former teammates this season when the former Western Conference combatants meet tonight at American Airlines Center.
“That’s life and you have to deal with it,” Eaves said. “But I’m feeling better. It’s not even close to what happened in Detroit or anything like that, just really swollen so I definitely dodged a bullet.
“My head was clear right away, I just had some headaches, but I think anytime you’re hit by a puck in the head you’ll get some headaches.”
Eaves also missed the Stars’ only visit to Detroit in December when two nights before a teammate’s shot struck him in the ankle, breaking a bone that sidelined him for 21-straight games.
Unlike his 2011 concussion and many facial fractures, which kept him away from the game for more than a year, his recent concussion was the result of friendly fire. Eaves took teammate John Klingberg's slapper to his head and left the game Feb. 13 against Florida.
“I saw it out of the corner of my eye,” Eaves said. “It looked like I tried to get out of the way. Obviously, I didn’t remember everything. I had to re-watch it, but I made an attempt to get out of the way, it was just that I was in the line of fire.”
Though there’s still some visible swelling to the right side of his face, Eaves' scans were negative for any skull fractures. But he’s out indefinitely, and as with all concussions, there's simply no measurable timetable for his return.
“No, it’s only been a week, and I hopped on the bike today and I felt fine,” Eaves said. “So it’s just see how the symptoms are. … I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve been through this before. I know this isn’t even close to what I went through in Detroit, so I’m lucky.”
He missed the majority of the 2011-12 season when he was struck in the head by a slap shot off the stick of Nashville’s Roman Josi.
Unlike the Detroit incident, Eaves wanted to watch video of last Friday’s injury.
“I wanted to know what happened,” he said. “It wasn’t like the last one where it was hard to watch. It was what it was, and I wanted to see what happened. I remembered what happened entering the zone, but I honestly thought I got hit, like a blind-side hit. The guys told me the puck hit me, so I wanted to see it.”
For Eaves, last week’s concussion was at least the fourth of his career. He suffered two head injuries 19 months apart when he collided with Pittsburgh forward Colby Armstrong in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs followed by an on-ice run in with then-Carolina teammate Wade Brookbank in Nov. 2008.
Last March, the Red Wings acquired David Legwand from the Predators in exchange for Eaves and prospect Calle Jarnkrok. Eaves played just five games in Nashville before signing a one-year free-agent contract with the Stars.
“Besides getting the friendly fire, I really enjoy playing here and the systems are the same as Detroit, so it wasn’t an adjustment there,” said Eaves, who has six goals and seven assists in 28 games this season. “I really enjoy this group of guys and what is going on here. It’s been a really good year. It’s fun to be a part of this right now.”