Eberle gets a taste of an NHL camp
Joanne Ireland, Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2008
CAMROSE, Alta. -- The first night was the toughest, said the tenderfoot with the seasoned hands -- but only until he skated his first shift.
After that, Jordan Eberle said he settled right into his role as the Edmonton Oilers prized prospect.
Selected 22nd overall in the June entry draft, Eberle has been accorded the time and teammates to flourish. He played his third straight game on Tuesday as part of the rookie tournament featuring the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, this time alongside Stephane Goulet and Bryan Lerg.
Lerg had a standout game against the University of Alberta Bears on Monday and head coach Jeff Truitt wanted to foster the chemistry that he had developed with Eberle. "I'm probably close to game shape, so coming into this camp, that definitely helped," Eberle said. "With all the playing time I'm getting, that is obviously feeding into that. I feel good out there.
"I talked to a lot of guys on my team (who have been to pro camps) and I talked to a lot of guys I work out with so it is everything I expected. It's quicker, faster ... the players are stronger. But so far, I feel like I've fit in."
Eberle checked into the Regina Pats camp on Aug. 18 and got into six pre-season games with his Western Hockey League team before he even hooked up with the Oilers' prospects. He also made a point of putting on some muscle in the off-season.
"The biggest thing for me was to get stronger," continued the 18-year-old. "I was at the gym five, six days a week, but I haven't been awestruck.
"It's a lot different. You don't have to worry about so much -- somebody even looks after your (equipment) bag. You get treated like a God so in that way, it's a lot easier to adapt. It is cool too going to the rink and seeing some of the players you've seen on TV... but I haven't been awestruck.
"I even got rid of the nerves after that first shift."
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2008