Giddy kiddies

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

They may end up as superstars and Hall of Famers.

They might turn out to have long, solid, professional but not especially prolific NHL careers.

Or maybe they’ll be big-time busts, first-round picks who fizzled, flopped and failed to find the glory predicted and projected for them.

Whatever happens forward to the future for Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Taylor Hall, what is happening to them right now will remain among the most precious moments and memories of their entire lives.

Serious stuff lies ahead. But right now it’s OK, encouraged even, for them to be giddy kiddies.

“It’s still pretty surreal that I’m on this team and about to play a game in the NHL, ” said Hall of the wow and the holy-cow factors going into Thursday’s opener against the Calgary Flames.

“You can see at practice that everyone is excited,” added the first No. 1 draft pick in Edmonton Oilers history after the first regular season practice.

“I know I’m going to be nervous but I think I’m just more excited than anything. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” added the 18-year-old.

“Your first NHL game is so exciting. You dream about that. But I’m prepared for this,” said Eberle, who said part of the great adventure overall includes moving in with Hall to share the cooking in a bachelor pad and jokes, and that he might not be quite as prepared for that.

“I don’t know what’s coming but I know a lack of energy is not going to be a factor,” said Paajarvi of his first game, which will be witnessed by his mom who is flying in from Sweden for the game while his dad has departed after being around for the past week.

To the average fan, of course, all of the above is expected as The Three go into Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames. But what you may forget about is all the other stuff going on around them.

Tuesday the Oilers passed out the new media guides, and it was fun to take a freshly printed copy to each and show them their pages.

“Cool,” said Paajarvi.

“Very cool,” said Hall.

In a few days they’ll see their rookie cards, the ones that not that long ago they used to collect as kids.

“I’m not much for memorabilia but I guess I better get a few of those,” said Eberle, who has 15 members of his family, including both sets of grandparents, coming in from Saskatchewan.

For the past few evenings hundreds of thousands of people across Canada have been picking them in pools, drafts and for fantasy franchises.

“Oh, man, I hadn’t even thought about that,” said Eberle.

“I’ve been told by my buddies that they’re going to take me in a hockey draft. I hope they don’t have too high expectations,” laughed Hall.

“I’m not apologizing to say I don’t know anything of all that,” said Paajarvi.

Ahead are their first road trips and playing in all those famous arenas around the league.

“I haven’t played on the road yet. All my pre-season games were at home. I’m really looking forward to my first one in the Saddledome,” added Hall, who spent the first 13 years of his life in Calgary.

The rink Paajarvi says he can’t wait to play a real NHL game in?

“Rexall,” he said, like that’s a stupid question.

Ahead are all those games when they’re going against famous faces.

“Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin. That’s going to be awesome. Facing off against Jarome Iginla here the other night in the pre-season game was pretty cool. I grew up idolizing those players,” said Hall.

“Yeah, Crosby and Ovechhin,” said Eberle.”

“I’ve got to say Crosby and (Nicklas) Backstrom,” said Paajarvi.

And soon, they hope, they’ll score their first NHL goal.

“When I get it I just hope somebody remembers to get the puck and put some tape around it or something. That’s one keepsake you want,” said Eberle.

The guy wearing No. 4 the first time around, Kevin Lowe, scored the first goal in Oilers history in his first NHL game. Maybe Hall can repeat the feat.

“It would be nice to get it when my parents are here so they could take the puck home to Kingston,” said Hall of his mom and dad, who are here.

Every moment is here, right now, dead ahead, to be remembered and treasured the rest of their lives no matter what happens in the rest of their careers.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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