SpongeBob Squarepants sat there talking about the adventure ahead.
Two spots down, The Green Men were laughing about the Oilers Halloween party.
“Four years ago I was trick or treating,” said Green Man No. 1, Taylor Hall.
“I think it was the same for me,” said Green Man No. 2, Jordan Eberle.
“I think I was 13 or 14,” said Sponge Bob, a.k.a., 18-year-old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“I can’t remember what I dressed up as, but I’m pretty sure I was somebody real scary,” said The Nuge.
“I think everybody got a laugh at me as SpongeBob,” said the kid who looks like he’s about 12 without the costume.
A picture of him in the costume singing Karaoke and another of Hall and Eberle in their Green Men costumes were tweeted by the players.
“My costume selection was at the last minute. It was the best I could get,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who Wednesday will appear on Off The Record with Michael Landsberg on TSN.
“My favourite was Cam Barker. He went as Chewbakka. Nobody had any idea who he was,” The Nuge said of the Star Wars character.
It took a while to get back to the original topic — the kid going on his first real NHL road trip.
Somebody wanted a clip on his signing up to grow a Movember mustache.
“I doubt if it will even be visible by the end of the month. Maybe after two months,” said the smooth-skinned kid who was pimple-free this day.
He was asked how many times a week he shaved.
“Maybe once,” he said.
Sitting in a corner in a post-practice dressing room at Milleneum Place in Sherwood Park, Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Eberle finally turned back to the original conversation.
They were speaking of the excitement of 10 games on the road this month, visiting places Hoppy, as they used to call him in Red Deer, has never been before while Hall and Eberle talked about being the experienced world travellers now, able to show their rookie linemate around.
“It’s going to be fun watching Anton Lander and Nuge,” said Eberle of the two rookies.
“But, to be honest, we’re still excited to go, too. We’re still essentially at the same stage as they are,” he added.
“We’re living pretty fun lives right now,” said Hall.
“As an 18- or 19-year-old player, one of the best parts of your first year in the NHL is going to places like Chicago and Boston. I got to go to Boston in my draft year and it’s the nicest city I’ve ever been. We didn’t play there last year. Now we’re going to play there on this trip.”
While the team has had three one-game trips in the division this year, this is the first full fledged road trip as the Oilers visit Los Angeles, Phoenix, Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Chicago, come back home for two and then head right back out to Dallas, Nashville, Minnesota and Colorado.
“I’ve never been to California before,” said Burnaby, B.C. boy RNH of the line some are now calling the Diaper Snipers.
“I’ve never really been anywhere before. I haven’t traveled much,” added the kid from a split family who spent his holidays on Vancouver Island with relatives.
“I went to Quebec once for the pee wee tournament. Pretty much everywhere I’ve been has been with hockey.
“This is my first chance to see all the different buildings and play in them all.”
The one he’s most looking forward to?
“Probably Montreal,” he said.
“I’ve always watched games from Montreal and how crazy it is there.
“The guys talk about how great it is to play in Chicago.”
Ryan Smyth takes it all in, thinking back to 1994 when he was the Oilers rookie.
“My first away game was in Los Angeles against Wayne Gretzky,” he said.
“Those guys talk about the buildings and the cities, but it’s about the other guys on the ice, too. Some of them used to be your favourite player growing up. Now you’re going into their building and they’re out there in their home uniform.”
Smyth took in all the Halloween talk.
“They talk about it being just the other day they were out trick or treating and I was out taking my kids, who are eight, six and three now, from door to door doing that this year. I didn’t wear a costume.”
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