WINNIPEG, Manitoba | What is there to do for fun in Winnipeg? That’s a question a media member asked Cody Eakin this week before the Capitals left for their road trip.
“Whatever you want,” he replied.
The 20-year-old Caps forward knows Winnipeg well. He’s from there, and on Thursday night is playing his first professional game back in his hometown.
When first called up from the Hershey Bears, it was impossible for Eakin to project playing against the Jets.
“I only thought it was going to be [a] one-game kind of thing, but it’s stretched out,” Eakin said.
According to Bruce Boudreau, Eakin has been upping his game during that stretched-out time with the Caps.
“I thought he had his best game last game in Nashville, and hopefully as a 20-year-old he continues to improve,” the coach said.
With Winkler, Manitoba, native Eric Fehr gone, Eakin is the only local boy the Caps have when playing in Winnipeg. Brooks Laich grew up several hours from here and had people in town, but Eakin’s roots are in Winnipeg.
That means a big need for tickets.
“Luckily not many guys on the team, Winnipeg hasn’t been around, right?” Eakin said. “If it was somewhere like Toronto, a lot of guys are from Toronto and they need a lot of tickets.”
Eakin said he doesn’t remember going to a Winnipeg Jets game during their first go-‘round. Born in 1991, he was barely 5 when they left.
Still, he grew up a Jets fan because of family and didn’t really have another favorite team.
Thursday night is a stage for Eakin to show why the Caps have kept him around – so that maybe he can play another game at MTS Centre next month.
What has kept Eakin around this long is no real surprise.
“He’s fast. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he can skate,” Boudreau said. “In this game, if you can skate, you’re ahead of the game.”