Ben Eager’s more than just a pretty fist.
Yes, at 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, he brings brute strength and intimidation to the Sharks lineup. But he’s also a 2002 first round draft pick who has experience winning championships with both Antero Nittymaki (American Hockey League’s Calder Cup) and Antti Niemi
So to simply categorize him as a new “enforcer” would be completely wrong.
In this segment of Ask the Sharks, we asked Eager about how he will fit into the Sharks lineup, what it’s like to share a dressing room with a guy he’s fought (Douglas Murray
) and what his impressions are of his new team and town.
Below are Eager’s answers to your best questions.
1.When you were a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, what did you guys focus on as a team that allowed you to be so successful in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and eventually win the Cup? – Alex P.
We just focused on buying into the game plan we had set. Everyone was focused and everyone came together for one goal and that was winning the Cup. It was a long run, but we stayed focused for a month-and-a-half and bore down on the system.2.What did you do on your day with the Stanley Cup?
I brought it back to my hometown in Ottawa and brought it to a park where I grew up and where I used to play outdoor hockey in the winter. It was nice. A lot of people got to see it and it was a nice day.
3. Last season you fought Douglas Murray when the Sharks were in Chicago. What was it like when you first interacted with him as a new teammate? Have you joked about the fight? – Brad F.
No. We haven’t talked about it yet. It’s part of the game. Whenever you get traded, you always run into guys that you’ve battled before and it’s no different here. He competes hard and I try to do the same. It was just one game. I don’t think that will be an issue.
4.Your stats show that you like to scrap. What is it that sparks you to fight someone?
Personally, I like to play hard and sometimes I get pretty fired up. If I make a big hit and someone challenges me then that’s when I like to fight. Emotions run high and fights happen. That’s part of the game.
Earlier in my career, I probably chirped a fair amount, but the last couple of years I’ve kind of settled down a little bit. But some games get heated and there’s some chirping out there.
5.Who’s the toughest guy you’ve ever fought? – Philip H.
Probably Douglas Murray
.6.Although you still haven’t had a full 24 hours in San Jose, what are your first impressions of the area and the Sharks organization?
My impressions are high. It’s a first class organization. Just walking in the first day – how everything was handled with my flight, getting here – you can just tell by the guys in the dressing room what kind of an organization it is. Everyone’s been first class and really friendly.
7.What’s the best play on words you’ve heard with your name?
Probably “over eager” or “eager beaver.” I’ve heard a lot. 8.What’s the most important thing to do on your first day with a new team? - Myloe E.
I don’t know. I just came in and tried to do what I do. I tried to be myself and go about my business and try to fit in. 9.In a September interview with Thrashers.nhl.com, your former teammate, Dustin Byfuglien described you as “simple, funny and a character.” Those aren’t the characteristics you would usually associate with a “tough guy” like yourself. How would you describe yourself?
I don’t try to be just an enforcer. I think I can play the game, too. I try to keep things pretty simple. I try to keep things light in the dressing room and be a good teammate.
10.You won the Calder Cup in the AHL alongside Antero Niittymaki and the Stanley Cup with Antti Niemi. Can you describe what it was like winning each? What’s it like to now play on a team with both of them?
It’s nice. It’s always nice coming into a dressing room when you know some of the guys. I’ve won championships with both those guys and they’re both great goalies so it’s nice to have them on the same roster.