Eaves hoping to impress

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Frosh Week kicked off the hockey season last night at the Corel Centre.

While the big kids don't arrive until the Senators report for main camp with medicals Tuesday, the Ottawa newcomers kicked off the rookie tournament with a 2-1 OT loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

While many players are auditioning for the Senators during this five-day rookie tournament, it's Patrick Eaves who may have the best chance of making the jump.

The 21-year-old Eaves, who signed in the off-season after being selected 29th overall in the the 2003 entry draft, decided to give up his final year at Boston College and take a shot at the NHL.

"I just felt that this was the right time for me to make this decision," said Eaves yesterday. "It was a tough decision. I talked with my family about it because I wanted to make sure that I made the right decision.

"I know this is going to be a big jump, but this is the chance that everybody wants. I'm ready to go. I'm here because I feel I can be an asset to this team. I just have to play as well as I can play in the exhibition games."

A communications major, Eaves has one year left to complete his degree at Boston.

WANTS TO GRADUATE

He has promised his family he will take courses and make sure that he's got the piece of paper hanging on his wall. But for now his focus is on Hockey 101.

If Eaves is going to make the Senators, he'll have to dominate in this rookie tournament and then carry that kind of momentum into main camp. Eaves was playing with Roman Wick and Sean Stefanski.

"We think (Eaves) is a guy who has a good shot," said Senators GM John Muckler. "He's going to get a chance and we'll see how he performs through the exhibition games."

Last night's effort against the Leafs wasn't much to write home about for Ottawa. David Deshamais scored for the Senators by picking up a rebound of a Andrej Meszaros shot, while Mike Hoffman and Luke Fulgham, with the winner, scored for Toronto.

In the first game of the day, the Carolina Hurricanes kicked off the tourney with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Top prospect Andrew Ladd had two goals and two assists for the Canes, while Mike Strathopolous, Kevin Estrada and Vince Bellissimo had a goal each. Joel Ward and Martin Lojek replied for the Panthers.


Photos