"Who's better: Taylor or Tyler?" Eberle yelled as his linemate, Taylor Hall, made his way into the room for a brief chat after the Oilers' morning skate.
Whether they like it or not, Hall and Bruins forward Tyler Seguin forever will be linked. The reasons even go beyond the fact that they were two superior Ontario Hockey League talents of the same age and were drafted No. 1 and 2, respectively, at the 2010 Entry Draft.
"That's fine with me," said Hall of the unending comparison. "I think I realized that as soon as I was in my last year of junior, I realized that we were going to be compared for a long time and we're only two years into our NHL careers and the debate's still pretty hot. I think we're both fine with that. I'm trying to be my own player. He obviously had success last year winning the (Stanley) Cup. I'm just trying to make my own career and help this team out the best that I can."
TALE OF THE TAPE: NO. 1 VS. NO. 2
Meanwhile, while the Oilers again finished 30th in the League standings, Hall logged 18:12 a night and had 22 goals and 20 assists before an ankle injury ended his season after 65 games.
Seguin doesn't seem to be embracing the Taylor-Tyler debate like his counterpart. He wasn't available to speak after the Bruins' skate, but Seguin reluctantly talked about Hall and the different paths two players have gone down after the Bruins practiced Wednesday.
"I haven't taken too much thought about what would have happened if I had been in Edmonton or he was in Boston or anything like that," said Seguin, who has a team-high 15 points to Hall's nine points heading into Thursday's game. "I think what happened was meant to be and he had a great year last year and obviously being fortunate to win a Cup, I had a great year as well. So we're just two guys in two different career paths."
As high draft picks who have continued to star now that they're playing at the sport's highest level, Hall and Seguin are used to extra attention everywhere they go. Seguin has had to deal with even more interest because he (or at least the pick Boston used to select him) was one of the chips in one of the biggest trades in recent years. The No. 2 pick Boston used to select Seguin was part of the bounty received from the Phil Kessel trade with Toronto.
Though only 19, Seguin has shown coach Claude Julien that he can focus through a circus regardless of where he's playing or who he's playing against.
"You're always going to get that kind of stuff going on around you, whether it's him going to Toronto and having to listen to all that stuff, whether it's Edmonton coming in and all that hype," Julien said. "I think eventually you just tune all that stuff out and you just go about your business. I mean, it's important for (the media) to write that stuff, that's fine. I think for the players, it's important that he just kind of tunes that out and answers the questions, tunes that out and focuses on what he's got to do. And I think that that's where he's matured a lot, is those kinds of things. He just brushes that stuff off and keeps doing his job. That's what I like about him."
Seguin's latest venture to the media circus in Toronto resulted in his first NHL hat trick. Julien has to hope his teenage pupil again can embrace the spotlight against the Oilers. That's what Edmonton coach Tom Renney is looking for from Hall, as well.
"At his age, he's one of the best competitors I've seen, so I suspect there's some motivation there," said Renney. "But that could be a good thing as long as you understand it's a team game."
It is a team game, but "Edmonton vs. Boston" doesn't roll off the tongue like "Taylor vs. Tyler." That's the title of a story that should go on for several years, with the next chapter starting Thursday.