Frenzy follows Oiler rookies

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

MONTREAL — From the way reporters swarm them in the dressing room, you’d swear Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were hauling in free food and beer.

Every city the Oilers visit means another wave of cameras, another barrage of questions, another round of poking and prodding for the up and coming cornerstones of Edmonton’s future.

And with Edmonton making its only Eastern Canada swing of the season, through hockey hotbeds in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, they’re followed like Justin Bieber at a girls’ school.

“I think after a while you kind of get used to it,” said Jordan Eberle. “It’s not really overwhelming at any point. It’s nice to have a couple other guys to bounce it off, and who attract as much (attention).

“It does get a little tiring answering the same ones after a while.”

After a while the questions all sort of run together. It’s only December and Hall can’t recall being asked anything new in weeks.

“I can’t say that I have,” he said. “It’s more or less the same questions, how the first year is going for me and the team. People are interested in that, it’s good story line. We have three rookies, pretty much a whole line of rookies. Not a lot of teams can say they have that possible future.

“It’s fun. It’s good to have a lot of excitement around the team, we’re an up and coming team, I think everybody knows that.”

It was a similar travelling road show back when the Boys on the Bus made their rounds in the early 80s, and head coach Tom Renney says it’s healthy.

“The fan support, the media attention, it’s really good for our guys to experience this,” said Renney. “Initially we talked to them about that and what to expect, some interview strategies, but they’ve done such a good job of handling that that we’ve kind of backed off.

“They’re mature, they’re well spoken, they have the attention of the team and their teammates in the forefront whenever they open their mouths.

“It’s important to let them go through that, you can’t hold their hand in every single situation that they’re involved with. The simple fact of the matter is they think about the Edmonton Oilers first and foremost and that’s good enough for us.”

Playing in Montreal and at Madison Square Garden were cool, but Hall is looking forward to playing the Leafs more than anyone else.

“I’m pretty pumped up for that game because it’s Toronto,” he said. “At the start of the year I was probably looking forward to that game more than (Montreal), just because it’s Toronto and I have a lot family there.”

Follow me at Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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