March 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Chris McCosky

Patrick Eaves' shootout flop has become comic hit

Patrick Eaves shootout attempt against the Predators Saturday didn't go so well. In attempting to get around Pekka Rinne for an open shot, Eaves lost his balance and fell down. (Frederick Breedon/Associated Press)

Detroit

Thank goodness Patrick Eaves has a sense of humor.

His stumble and sprawl during a shootout attempt Saturday is going to be a popular clip on highlight shows and the Internet for some time.

He's still laughing about it himself.

"It was pretty awesome," Eaves said Monday. "Great reaction from both benches. I think it made everybody in the arena laugh, too. I was laughing."

Eaves tried to make a hard stop and quick change of direction against Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Unfortunately for Eaves, the ice was a mess and he hit a rut.

"I do a lot of stupid stuff like that, but not on that big a stage usually," he said. "We ended up winning. Fortunately it didn't knock Howie (goaltender Jimmy Howard) off his focus too much."

Howard, named the NHL's second star this week, stopped 10 of 11 shots in the shootout in a 1-0 victory. Which, of course, made Eaves' flop that much funnier.

"Everybody has their embarrassing moments," Derek Meech said. "I had mine in Nashville a couple of years ago. And after I saw Patty's I thought, 'Oh, man, maybe he will take over the most embarrassing moment.' "

Meech's flop happened during his rookie season and it has been a staple on the team's pre-practice video sessions ever since.

"I got a pass to the point from Pavel (Datsyuk) and it kind of handcuffed me in the middle a little bit," Meech said, still laughing about it. "And I did a face-plant ... and I was swinging my stick trying to get it. After he gave me the pass, Pav was hunched over laughing all the way back to the bench. I heard about it basically for the rest of the year."

He's probably off the hook now. Coach Mike Babcock even showed the clip to his youngest daughter's hockey team during their bowling party Sunday.

"He (Eaves) might have a torn ego there for a bit, but he will be all right," Babcock said. "The kids made me rewind that thing about 20 times."

Cleary to return soon

It doesn't look like the Wings will have to shut Danny Cleary down for the rest of the regular season, but he's likely to miss a few more games.

Cleary has had MRI and ultrasound tests on his sore groin -- neither revealed a tear. But, with the playoffs looming, he's going to err on the side of caution.

"I have to be smarter than I was last time," said Cleary, who played two games before aggravating the groin last Friday. "Nobody wants me to come back for one game and then get hurt again. I want to make sure it will be ready for the next five games."

He's definitely out tonight against Edmonton and doubtful for Thursday against Columbus.

Cleary said he planned to skate this morning.Meech will again fill in for Cleary. He will skate with Darren Helm and Eaves. Kris Draper will move back to center between Drew Miller and Jason Williams .

Rookie's run

Howard will make his 23rd consecutive start, tying him with Roy Edwards (1967-68) for the most consecutive starts by a Wings rookie.

He was 4-0 last week with a 1.22 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.

chris.mccosky@detnews.com">chris.mccosky@detnews.com (313) 222-1489

Net results

Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard continues to rack up the victories. The numbers:
Wings 30-win club

Player Season Wins
Terry Sawchuk1950-5144
Roger Crozier1964-6542
Jimmy Howard2009-1031
Glen Hall1955-5630

NHL 30-win club*
Player Season Wins
Steve Mason2008-0933
Jimmy Howard2009-1031
Henrik Lundqvist2005-0630
Ryan Miller2005-2630

* rookies; since the shootout was adopted in 2005-06

Leaders

Through Monday

Player GP G A +/- Pts
Zetterberg6723421465
Datsyuk7324381562
Lidstrom758392247
Bertuzzi751725-442
Rafalski717322239
Holmstrom612114535
Filppula481123134
Cleary601316-729
Helm681011-521
Draper74714021
Player W L OT Sv% GAA
Howard32159.9262.24
Osgood784.8902.97

See Also