With news that Jordan Eberle was traded to the New York Islanders today for Ryan Strome a chapter of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club book has officially closed. The era of Squee is over.
There was a time when the Oilers trading Jordan Eberle would have triggered a meltdown in your old pal Wanye. In fact I had a very dark plan on a very dark shelf that should the Oilers trade 14 – I planned on taking down OilersNation.com for a day and leaving Kevin Lowe’s phone number on the landing page (which I had obtained with ninja skillery level 100) with a message that Kevin Lowe would love to hear from Oilers fans who think this trade was a mistake. But that’s not needed in 2017.
This is a sad day but not for the reasons that one would expect.
Jordan Eberle was drafted 22nd overall in 2008 and beamed the radiant smile of someone who was pumped to be an Oiler. At the time Lil Wanye was more concerned with trying to figure out if Mike Comrie’s second tour of duty as an Oiler would continue on indefinitely and if Erik Cole would continue to score.
Later that summer Nation Co-Founder @thesquir3 went to a celebrity golf tournament in Regina and met a freshly inked Jordan Eberle. “We need you to be good BAD” he drunkenly demanded of Eberle who promptly replied, “I’ll try so hard I love the Oilers.” Upon returning to Edmonton and conveying the story to a couch bound Wanye a love affair was born. “That’s the kind of attitude we need around here by thunder!” I remember jumping up and yelling and away we went.
At the time I was big into Jonas Brothers forums online. I was trolling around late one night that summer and saw that Jonas Brothers fans yelling Squee over a new video and I figured that squeeing over my new superhero was going to be the play. And Squee we all did – annoying the fans of the other 29 teams with our incessant social media chatter and hope despite being in the bottom of the league.
Eberle and Hall soon became the face of a new generation of Oilers. After several years of cheering for the Erik Coles and Shaun Horcoffs of the world, it was a blessing to have a crop of young superstuds to cheer and cheer Oilers fans did – selling out every game through the long decade of darkness. Eberle and Hall led the way on many a losing night and set hearts aflame with their sexy ways.
Jordan Eberle was my favourite player for 5 years. I’ll call them good years, but not great years. They were certainly long years and cheering for Eberle was a single bright spot on many dark, dark nights. On a team of also rans and never weres, he was a legit Star in an organization that couldn’t determine or address any of their crippling failings on and off the ice. That was on them not on Eberle.
ENTER CONNOR McDAVID
If Hall, Eberle, The Nuge and Yakupov coming to the City caused expectations and excitement to spike – things went into a super spike of Hope when the Oilers defied all odds and won the Draft Lottery and Captain Connor came to town. Suddenly the past 10 years were all worth it and every single Oilers fan felt the swag of our man in the bathtub here.
The instant Connor was picked by the Oilers the franchise began to change with lightning speed. The ol boys club was out – ‘promoted’ to other roles – and new Coaches and a new GM came in. Then the new regime started to make moves which led to Taylor Hall being traded to the Devils last summer dividing OilersNation in half in the process. Half of the famed duo was now gone and the writing was on the wall for the guy who stayed behind.
THE LIGHT WENT OUT
Eberle was productive in his final regular season – 51 points this last season is no joke – and what should have been his breakthrough in the first playoffs of his career was not to be. While smiling ear to ear and consuming an Oil Tanker of booze during the playoffs, I found myself watching Eberle exclusively on several shifts. Eberle looked lost as the intensity went through the roof and that showed on the scoresheet with no goals and 2 assists in 13 games and a minus 6 rating. The playoffs demand a gear that he hasn’t had to test really at all throughout his NHL career. Like a fighter who is always training but never getting a prize fight, sooner or later the fire starts to go out. If you don’t have any meaningful games in the first 6 years of your career it is going to be hard to level up your game when meaningful hockey does arrive.
Jordan Eberle was a great Oiler. With 165 goals and 382 points in 507 games on some truly shitanusly bad teams I truly believe he did his best. But if the 2016-17 season taught us anything it’s that Eberle had become a player from another era. An era where we had little expectation of winning on most nights but could hope that we get a couple cheers from some slick goals from Hall N Ebs. And that got us through till 97 arrived.
Good luck on Long Island Jordan. I’m sure when we look back on your NHL career the consensus will be that it was a good one and that you have lived up to your promise on draft day so long ago. On the nights when you swing through Edmonton on a long Western road trip I suspect more than a couple Oilers fans will dust off the ol’ 14 and come down to Rogers Place to Squee and remember a different time. I will certainly be among them.
All the players of HOPE are now gone. And yet hope has never been higher.