SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers' rookie goal getting plenty of airtime

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:54 AM ET

There was plenty of fallout after The Goal.

It sparked excitement among Edmonton Oilers fans. Disbelief from a Calgary Flames defender who thought he made the right play in trying to stop it. Inspiration for a tongue-in-cheek video produced by TSN that showed just how fun it is to be an Oiler right now — especially for the 20-year-old rookie who used a toe-drag and backhand deke at high speed to tackle his first NHL tally in the season opener against the Flames.

Jordan Eberle’s debut was pretty stellar, potting that highlight-reel goal and adding an assist later on.

Even Flames defenceman Ian White, who slid to the ice on the two on one rush and swept his stick at the puck — getting a piece of it in the process — admitted Saturday before the rematch it was pretty impressive to watch later.

“I’ve seen it on TV once or twice,” White said. “It looks good in full speed.”

He’s not retracting his comments about it being a bit fortunate. He felt the puck hit his stick and then watched Eberle scoop it right back up before faking out goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

“It hit the flat part of my blade and just skipped over,” White recalled. “If it hit the shaft, it wouldn’t have gone, but it hit the blade.”

Eberle, too, realizes he was a little lucky.

“I watched it after. It did look like it jumped over a bit. I got a bounce,” the 20-year-old said. “I guess you could say it was a little bit lucky, but it worked out.”

So did the video reporter Ryan Rishaug put together the following day, titled ‘Who does he think he is?’ Eberle’s teammates pretended to be upset he kept the puck on a two-on-one rush.

The acting was so good, Taylor Hall actually got messages about it with people thinking the kids were cocky.

“People didn’t realize it was a joke. It was a lot of fun,” said Hall, a fellow rookie, roommate and linemate who also shares Calgary minor hockey roots with Eberle.

“It shows that we’re having some fun in this locker-room. No matter if we’re winning or losing, we’ve got a good dressing room here.”

Eberle — whose parents Lisa and Darren still live in Calgary and took in Saturday night’s game — liked the final product but was initially hesitant to participate.

“I wasn’t sure if

I wanted to do it, to be honest. I didn’t want to come across cocky,” said Eberle, who went to the Telus Cup final with the AMHL’s Calgary Buffaloes while attending Bishop O’Byrne high school in 2005-06. “But after watching it, it was obviously a little bit humourous. It kind of brings your team together a little bit when you can do stuff like that and joke around.”

Aside from the obvious fact the Flames’ young players are nowhere near the calibre of the Oilers’ future stars, the atmosphere in the two rooms is probably the most obvious discrepancy.

“There is a huge difference between the atmospheres in the rooms,” said former Flame Jim Vandermeer, who set up Eberle’s first goal with a nice touch pass off the boards. “We have a really young group, a lot of excitement around the room.

“Regardless of what other people think, we have expectations of ourselves, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.”

The fact the Oilers are doing just that is pretty obvious.


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