Daily Herald
Eager says injury not related to concussion
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 12/22/2009 10:20 PM

Left wing Ben Eager said the upper-body injury that sidelined him for the third straight game Tuesday is not related to the concussion that forced him to miss 13 games earlier in the season.

"It has nothing to do with it," Eager said, adding that he still was "little sore" from the undisclosed injury.

Eager felt he finally was getting his game in order when he got hurt last week against St. Louis.

"I've been feeling great and getting back to how I play," Eager said. "It took a few games to get back in the groove. I'm feeling I'm getting back to where I was last year, or getting close to it."

Eager scored 11 goals last season in 75 games, but the fourth line, such a key for the Hawks in 2008-09, hasn't been the same this year because of injuries to Eager and Adam Burish.

Eager has 2 goals in just 19 games.

"It's still early," he said. "It's tough being injured and missing games, but there's a lot of games left and I'm looking forward to still having a strong season. Things are getting better and I look to come back strong."

Meanwhile, defenseman Cam Barker missed his second game in a row with a lower-body injury.

Winging it: Marian Hossa gets another crack at his former team Wednesday night when the Hawks play in Detroit.

Hossa was quiet in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Red Wings, his first game against his ex-teammates, with no shots on goal in 19 minutes.

"That first game, when you first see that former team, whether there's a little nervousness or a little anxiousness, there's always that hurdle that once you get over it you feel better," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I'm sure he'll be fine."

Final impressions: Brian Burke, general manager for the U.S. Olympic team, scouted Tuesday's game.

Burke said recently there still were three spots available on his 23-man roster and it's likely he was at the United Center watching Hawks winger Dustin Byfuglien and San Jose center Joe Pavelski.

Russia will be the first medal contender to announce its roster on Christmas Day, followed by Sweden on Dec. 27, Slovakia on Dec. 29, Canada on Dec. 30 and the U.S. on Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic.

"I think it will be a great opportunity for the guys that get to go," Joel Quenneville said. "Playing at that elite level you learn a lot about preparation and playing in big games.

"As you go along you can apply those lessons, and that experience is going to be helpful for everybody that participates."

Channel surfing: Comcast SportsNet, in conjunction with the Hawks, will air Blackhawks TV on Christmas night at 7 p.m.

The 30-minute show will feature a variety of segments, including Saturday's visit by Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd to the famous Palace Grill near the United Center last Saturday, where the players served food dressed in full uniform then picked up the tab, on the Hawks, for everyone in the restaurant.

Blackhawks TV at chicagoblackhawks.com received the most video views in the NHL during November with 880,000.