New Oilers experience rock star status

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Magnus Paajarvi stood in the corner and alternated between shaking his head and rolling his eyes.

Do you blame him? It was just three hockey players getting their numbers, for a team they might not even make this year, and the reporters and gawkers were crammed in like commuters on a Tokyo subway.

People were stacked 15 deep, craning their necks for a glimpse of kids who've never even stepped on NHL ice. One fan showed up to collect the very first Taylor Hall autographed No. 4 sweater, the one his old man paid $30,000 for.

The only things missing were the screaming teenage girls.

And somewhere in the corner, Paajarvi was left to wonder: they do know that we're Oilers, not Jonas Brothers?

In Edmonton, he's quickly finding out, there doesn't seem to be much difference.

"It's a little odd," admitted the 19-year-old winger, after receiving his No. 91. "But it's really cool. You can feel the atmosphere here in Edmonton. I'm super excited to get camp going and work my butt off to make the team."

Same goes for Hall.

"We haven't even made the team yet, we're not even on the roster, but at the same time you can sense the excitement in the town," he said.

"Everyone comes up and talks to us, almost every veteran is in town already, everybody is talking about the season."

It's no coincidence the club is parading Hall, Paajarvi and third Musketeer Jordan Eberle like banners in Red Square; they represent salvation for the Oilers and hope for Edmonton, so they might as well give them a sense of it early.

"The three young gentlemen are going to be a big part of this organization for years to come and we wanted to give them a little bit of an idea what the Oilers mean to the community," president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe told the packed house.

They ain't seen nothin' yet, actually, but they do have a feel for it.

"Obviously there's pretty big hype in this town over hockey, so to be a part of the direction they're going in is pretty exciting," said Eberle, adding it's nice that there are a few of them in this together.

"It's nice that you have three guys that you can kind of bounce the pressure off of. If it was just Hall and you had a hundred cameras in his face it would be kind of tough on him, but when you have another two guys to share the load I think it really helps all of us."

WHAT'S IN A NUMBER: Had Kevin Lowe not offered Taylor Hall No. 4, the rookie was leaning toward 19.

"Maybe 19 and maybe 44," he said. "But, to be honest, that number has been jinxed in Edmonton (Chris Pronger, Rob Schremp and Sheldon Souray), so I wasn't going to take that chance."

WHAT'S IN A NUMBER 2: Lowe actually wanted No. 6 when he first came to Edmonton, but Colin Campbell had it. "He was my first roommate and a very good friend to this day," said Lowe. "But he actually tried to sell me No. 6. He said 'I'll wear 4 if you want 6,' but he wanted to charge me something like 5,000 bucks. I was making $50,000, and that just seemed like too much of my pay."


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