Friday, October 8, 2010

NHL'ers Talk About "The Goal"


It certainly didn't take long for Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle to make a good impression on his team.

Eberle had a beautiful goal and added an assist as Edmonton routed the Calgary Flames 4-0 in the first round of the Battle of Alberta, 2010-11 edition.

The 20-year-old Regina native rushed in a 2-on-1, jumped to the middle, moved to his backhand and buried the puck over Flames goalie Miika Kiprusoff, permanently etching his first-ever NHL tally into the collective memory of the hockey world.

"I saw it this morning. Typical Ebs," said Buffalo Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers, a former teammate of Eberle's on Canada's World Junior hockey team. "We've seen that a lot from him. He's going to score a few more like that in this league."

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson also praised the youngster's performance.

"It was a pretty nice way to start your career, and it's pretty amazing to see a guy who's falling but he's still having control on the puck the whole time," said Alfredsson. "Good for him, I'm sure we'll see more of that from him."

"It was pretty impressive," added Sens defenceman Chris Campoli. "I know he's a pretty skilled guy but to be able to finish like that under the circumstances, and that being his first goal and everything, I was really impressed."

"That's got to be one of the best first goals I've ever seen," said Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney.

Eberle's marker even drew comparisons to the first career goal of a particular 1980s hockey player (hint: his number was 66), who potted one in his first career game as well.

"Mario (Lemieux)'s goal was really the only other first goal that I remember being that nice," said Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff. "Good on (Eberle). It's impressive."

The No. 1 pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft also chimed in with a compliment for his teammate, albeit using language a little more modern than some of his older Oiler contemporaries.

"That was pretty sick," said Taylor Hall. "I knew exactly what he was going to do when he was coming down the ice, I knew he was going to score. He's a great player, it's great for him to get that kind of introduction."

"Wow, that's all I've got to say," said Pittsburgh Penguins centre Maxime Talbot. "It was pretty impressive, it could be a Top 10 of the year for sure."

Last year's NHL scoring leader said the Oilers could have a very bright future.

"Great goal. It's fun to watch the team, the young guys there," said Canucks forward Henrik Sedin. "Eberle looks like a tremendous player, they're going to have a good team this year. If those guys can step in and play the way they did yesterday, then they're going to be dangerous."

"It was really nice. He's got great hands, I think he's proven that before," said Pens captain Sidney Crosby. "I can't say anyone was surprised to see him score a goal like that...Being in his first game, too, that's pretty special."

"It's one of the nicer goals I've scored for sure," said Eberle. "For now, it's probably one of the more special ones I've had."

Eberle is known for clutch performances; he scored several late goals in his World Junior tournament appearances and has garnered a reputation as a guy who comes through when the game is on the line.

"It just seems to bring the best out in me," he said. "I just seem like I want to be on the ice and I want to be that guy to put the puck in the net."

It's only the first game of the season, but after a 30th-place finish last year, Oilers fans are excited the potential of their young, speedy team, and Eberle's first goal has thrown more fuel on the fire.

As for Alfredsson's recollections of first goal? Well, it wasn't quite as pretty.

"Mine went off my bum and in," he said, laughing.

The Oilers play the Florida Panthers in Edmonton on Sunday.

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