EBERLE TALKS ABOUT GOING TO OKC

Jason Gregor
October 01 2012 10:18AM

Jordan Eberle played 20 AHL games over two seasons with Springfield, and he racked up nine goals and 23 points. Since then he's played two NHL seasons, including an excellent 76-point campaign in 2011/2012. Will he think the AHL is beneath him?

Not a chance. I caught up to Eberle before he left for Oklahoma City and got his thoughts on the AHL, Justin Schultz, the Riders and even "Hall N' Ebs."

Gregor: How frustrating has the lockout been for you and have you gotten any advice from veteran players on how to deal with it?

Eberle: A little bit, yeah it’s frustrating. No one wants to go through this, everyone wants to play hockey. I was looking at the schedule today and we were scheduled to play an exhibition game in Regina today and it kind of made me mad; I wanted to be there [laughs].

But it’s getting to the point where you’re sick of working out and you’re sick of doing drills and you just want to get playing. So I’m excited to go down there and get things going. It sucks and everyone just wants to play hockey. I spoke to Ryan (Whitney), he was one guy who went down to the American League during the lockout and he said that it was one of the most fun years he’s ever had in his career. They had a winning team and with the calibre of talent that we have, we should be a winning team as well. So I’m excited for that opportunity to go down there and see what happens.

JG: You’ve played in the AHL before so you understand what the leagues about, you respect it, but at the same time you have two years of NHL experience. How do you ensure you go down there and respect the league enough that you don’t get injured, don’t get lazy and don’t pick up bad habits?

JE: I’ve got to go there with the right mindset. I’ve been working on it a little bit and the AHL is a great league. A lot of the players are close to being in the NHL and with the guys going down it’s going to be better than what it normally is. I think that the positive thing is that I’m going there with Nuge and obviously Schultz and guys like Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Colten Teubert. I just have to put my head in the right place and realize that it’s not an easy league. It’s a league, like I said before, with a lot of the guys could play in the NHL. It’s going to get me ready hopefully for when the season starts.

JG: Are you expecting that you and Nugent-Hopkins will play together on a line?

JE: I spoke to coach Nelson and he had mentioned that we were going to start, and obviously that’s great. I played with him all year. It’s nice to get a little familiarity down there, and a little comfort I guess.

JG: You definitely have a lot of comfort with Nugent-Hopkins. Why did you two have instant chemistry last year?

JE: I think that we play the game very similar. We think the game similar as well, it’s almost like he does things and I watch him and I think about what I would have done and it would have been very similar if not the exact same thing. We like to cycle the puck, we like to play a give and go kind of game and I think that that’s what gives us such good chemistry.

JG: OKC is a bigger city than Springfield where you played before, there’s a lot more going on. Have you talked to the guys, what do they like about the city?

JE: The boys love it. I’ve spoken to them about what the city’s like and it’s obviously a great city. It’s going to be hot. We’ve talked about it before, hopefully we catch maybe an NBA game; I’ve never seen one or even a Sooners game. There are a lot of positives and a lot of stuff going on down there.

JG: How much of a sports fan are you, other than hockey? Are you a guy that’s a diehard sports fan or are you a diehard hockey fan?

JE: I mean number one is hockey, I love watching hockey. There’s not too many nights where we’re not watching a game when it’s on. But summer time obviously golf and football are my big two. Golf majorly and then obviously I watch the Riders play and the NFL I’ll go somewhere to watch it tonight.

JG: Do you have an NFL team that you cheer for?

JE: Not really. It’s fun to make just casual bets with the guys and see how things play out

JG: Do you play fantasy football?

JE: I don’t. Actually I was over at Strudwick’s house last week for dinner and he had just gotten into it. He was talking about how he’s addicted right now, so I might have to get into that.

JG: Something tells me that you could probably beat him at fantasy football.

JE: Oh yeah? Is he not doing very well?

JG: I hear he’s doing OK, but he’s in a beginner’s league.

JE: [laughs] I think I’d have to start there too. I know the stars on most teams and the guys that put up a lot of points but when it comes to secondary guys, or guys that you would need to have big seasons I probably wouldn’t know.

JG: You mentioned how you are sick of working out. After the success you  had had last year, did it make this offseason even easier for you to go to the gym because you recognized that all of your hard work from the previous off-seasons paid off?

JE: Oh yeah. I mean I’ve done the same thing for many years and this summer that I felt older and stronger and a little bigger in the gym, Working out is [something that] I enjoy. I have a trainer that I’ve been working with for a eight years, Doug Crashley, and we had the same group of guys that train with him. I enjoy going there and having fun. It’s almost like the dressing room where you hang around with the guys and talk about what we did and what was going on. It’s a great atmosphere.

JG: How many Rider games did you get to go to this year?

JE: I’ve been to three. I’ve been watching them, they’ve turned it around in the last little bit, hopefully they’ll get better.

JG: Now when you go to the rider games, do you have a set group of guys that you go with all of the time, and do you tailgate?

JE: I went to a game in Edmonton, one in Calgary and one in Regina. But I’m the same as any other guy; I wear the jersey and just enjoy the crowd.

JG: What is your Rider jersey, do you have a number on the back?

JE: Yeah, I have a Dressler jersey. I have a few actually. I have a Joseph one, , Getzlaf, Dressler, I have one that’s Eberle with number 14 that they had given me. I have a few.

JG: Have you ever worn the Eberle one out to a game?

JE: No I haven’t. One of my buddies did one time to Edmonton. Everyone thought that he was me, it was pretty funny.

JG: Now would you ever put your name on the back of a Rider’s jersey with Dressler’s number? Are you a believer in things like jersey fouls?

JE: I don’t know if I could pull that off. You should ask Hallsy. I think that he did that with his Bautista jersey. He put his name with Bautista’s number and he thought that was pretty cool (laughs).

JG: Are you a baseball fan?

JE: I watch the Blue Jays a little bit. But to be honest I get a little bored watching the game. I love playing; I got into playing a little over the summer. We used to get a Saturday pickup game going. We went out a few times and played. I have to admit, I hit the ball, I’m not a big hitter, but my fielding is where it’s at. I’m good at fielding.

JG: Are you an infielder?

JE: Yes, I’m an infielder. I usually play short stop or something.

JG: I could see that correlation, your hands seem to be your forte when you’re on the ice. You said you like to watch a lot of hockey. When you watch a hockey game, are you just enjoying it for what it is or are you dissecting it and watching it for specific things?

JE: I like to dissect the game. Even from a young age I’ve tried to think about where the puck is going to go next. And obviously there’s certain guys that you try to watch play. I love watching Crosby and Giroux and other skilled guys, I think that they’re fun to watch. You try to pick things out of their game that you want to incorporate into your game, and obviously the highlights too.  I’m just like any hockey fan. There are a few guys on our team who are just like that too and we are always talking about other games or the crazy plays. 

 JG: Individually you had a much better season; 76 points, top 15 in the league but you didn’t win the TSN play of the year.  You set the bar high as a rookie. Can you get back there again?

JE: A lot of people are giving me that one. But I’d rather score 50 goals off of my butt than score one nice one. I think that I was up there, I had one nice one. It’s not something that I’m trying to do for sure. I’m just trying to get the puck in the net.

JG: I think you on TSN that you were voted a better player on TSN than Crosby. Did you see that?

JE: I think I beat out Toews and Crosby, Hallsy beat out Stamkos. Hallsy beat me out in the final. There were obviously a lot of Edmonton Oilers fans voting for that because that’s a little biased there for sure.

JG: Did Hall get his buddies to stuff the ballot box when he beat you?

JE: I’m pretty sure that Hallsy voted for himself all day one time. He’s got the bragging rights now.

JG: You had a great season, but I get the sense from you that you’re never going to be satisfied, you always want to look at improving an element of your game. Is there anything specific you’ve focused on improving?

JE: Yeah for sure. I’ve already talked to some of the guys and obviously my defensive game. I’m known for being an offensive guy, but it would be nice to improve on my defensive side of the game. It will be good to get some penalty killing time and I think that it’s going to be good for me and Nuge

I think that there are a few guys down there (OKC) that are going to be key parts of the Oilers moving forward and I think that we need to get that winning attitude. We’re going to be a great team and I think that when you put it together, and string some wins together; it just makes things more enjoyable when you’re winning games. I think that we need that attitude in our locker room so hopefully we can bring it over.

JG: If the Oilers are ever going to win, not only do you need great players, but you also need a great team and a lot of complementary guys like Hartikainen, Pitlick, Paajarvi. Is that one of the reasons why you chose to go to the American League instead of going to Europe?

JE: Yeah, not only that but the American League is right up there, it’s going to be one of the best leagues this year. I got that opportunity to go down there, so why not take it. If you could ask the majority of the guys on my team where they want to play it would be in the American League. It’s close to home, you’re still playing with the Oilers organization and you’re playing with a good team. So it’s just such a good option to have at a young age and you get to play hockey, so that’s number one.

JG: Have you ever played centre?

JE: A little bit. They had me a little bit in Junior it’s a position I like, I’m fairly good down low but I can’t imagine that they would switch me there.

JG: Some think it might it be easier to experiment in the AHL than it would be in the NHL. Do you agree?

JE: [Laughs] I wish it was that easy, but it’s not. The American League is a good league. I think that guys are going to be keen on shutting me and Nuge down and it’s just going to make us better.

JG: What do you know about Justin Schultz?

JE: I’ve been skating with him the last few weeks here and I’m really excited to see him in games. He’s tremendously skilled and he’s walked around me lots of times. He can shoot very well, is a great puck handler, he sees the ice fairly well so I think that he is going to be a huge addition to our team.

JG: Also he has a bomb on the point on the power play. Todd Nelson said he’ll use Schultz on the point, Nugent-Hopkins on the side wall and you on the PP.

JE: Yeah, it’s amazing to see that. It’s hopefully going to be one of our units in Edmonton. Hopefully when Hallsy’s healthy he can come down and play low. So that it looks like we’ve got our full power play. I think that we’re going to have that extra step ahead of maybe some teams when the season starts, just by building that chemistry between me and Nuge and hopefully we’re going to have that step ahead on the power play. It’s good to have those options.

JG: How do you think Hallsy is going to react to “Hall N' Ebs” now that Ebs goes down to the American League?

JE: [Laughs] I actually love those things, I think that they are hilarious. Mainly because they make me look good and him like an idiot. But he’s not really like that in real life.

JG: Have you ever gone online and sent him a link?

JE: I haven’t heard one since maybe last year during the season. We were on the golf course the other week and someone started singing it and we got a good chuckle out of it.

JG: If you want a good laugh they did one recently about the lockout  it is damn funny.  

JE: I’ll have to listen to that for sure. Then maybe I'll text him the link. He'll love it (laughs).

WRAP UP

Clearly Eberle respects the AHL and I'd be very surprised if he and Nugent-Hopkins aren't near the top of the scoring race. The Barons have two exhibition games this weekend before they open their season October 12th.

If you want to see Eberle, RNH and Schultz play we have a few seats left on our road trip at the end of October. You will see  the OKC Barons for two games and sandwiched in between you will enjoy an electric college football atmosphere as the Oklahoma Sooners host Notre Dame.

Friday Oct 26th... OKC v. Houston.
Saturday Oct 27th...Sooners host Notre Dame.|
Sunday Oct 28th...OKC v. Texas.

There are two different flight options. With OPTION ONE you will also get access to the OKC Barons morning skate and a tour of the rink.

OPTION ONE... $1,589.00 CAD per person based on double occupancy...

Oct 25th... Depart Edmonton 11:50pm through Houston arrive in OKC at 8:35 am.
Oct 29th... Depart Oklahoma City 12:18pm throught Houston arrive in EDM at 7:19 pm  

  • Courtyard Downtown Marriott – 3 nights including taxes – official hotel of the OKC Barons –
  • Barons game ticket on the 26th, Sooners ticket on the 27th and Barons game ticket on the 28th.
  • Shuttle service from airport to hotel and back to airport plus transportation to/from the Sooners football game.

OPTION TWO:... $1,759.00 CAD per person based on double occupancy....

Oct 26th.. Depart Edmonton 6:09 am though Denver arrive in OKC at 12:46 p.m.
Oct 29th...Depart OKC at 6:15 am through Denver arrive in EDM at 11:05 a.m. 

  • Courtyard Downtown Marriott – 3 nights including taxes – official hotel of the OKC Barons –
  • Barons game ticket on the 26th, Sooners ticket on the 27th and Barons game ticket on the 28th.
  • Shuttle service from airport to hotel and back to airport plus transportation to/from the Sooners football game.

There are only 28 seats. If you want in I'd suggest calling Ross right away.

Ross Evans Custom Travel Solutions
D: 780-919-6497 TF: 1-855-919-6497
Email: ross@custom.travel

THANK YOU

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who replied here or on twitter or sent me an email regarding my article about my father. Your words were sincere and very humbling. Many of you told me stories of your experiences with your own father or and it was truly rewarding to read them. Thanks again. 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#1 geoilersgist
October 01 2012, 10:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

FIST SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Ok now I can read

Those crack me every time.

I really hope some of the OKC games get put on TV.

Avatar
#2 Wanye
October 02 2012, 12:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

This interview is terrible! Not a single question about boxers or briefs, what kind of cologne he wears or what he is looking for in a woman.

WHY INTERVIEW HIM AT ALL

Avatar
#3 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 01 2012, 10:54AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

In a happ'nin city like Oklahoma, these guys may be disappointed to have to come back here next fall.

The weather's turning, no hockey.....what's the point of staying in Canada.

Avatar
#4 Reg Dunlop
October 01 2012, 11:20AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

What an awesome interview. By this time next year it will be Ebs and Hall.

I spent some time in Norman, Ok. and visited OKC. It is as if Edmonton was lifted up and placed down a couple thousand clicks south. The time that the boys spend down there will surely be a factor in the oil's success in the comming years. Hopefully that time is shorter than I fear it will be.

Avatar
#5 pelhem grenville
October 01 2012, 11:30AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Q's in for the long haul ?

i'm gonna say season salvaged @ xmas

Avatar
#6 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 01 2012, 11:51AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@pelhem grenville

I hope you're right.

Shortened season = playoff spot for the Oil?

Avatar
#7 pelhem grenville
October 01 2012, 12:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

...K ...but can the season be ten games ?

Avatar
#8 EHH Team
October 01 2012, 12:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

From Eberle's comment, it seems he believes Hall would be eligible to play in OKC once he's healthy. Is this correct?

What about the requirement to be on the "clear list" that has been mentioned on this site several times?

Avatar
#9 Oilers Coffey
October 01 2012, 01:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Wanye hasnt commented on this article yet...is he still kicking?

HAHA

Awesome article, a little in depth to the man inside the Idol !

Avatar
#10 Oilers Al
October 01 2012, 03:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Curious question " did you ever play center". Was a bit surprised that he did.

I had same curious question [in mind only], about Paajarvi, " if he could play center"? Has the speed, size, defensive skills etc. If he could get into doing face offis, would he not be a great center ice man for the team.?

Avatar
#11 Oilers Al
October 01 2012, 03:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Curious question " did you ever play center". Was a bit surprised that he did.

I had same curious question [in mind only], about Paajarvi, " if he could play center"? Has the speed, size, defensive skills etc. If he could get into doing face offis, would he not be a great center ice man for the team.?

Comments are closed for this article.