Anthony Beauvillier thought it was funny that even in Denmark, Jordan Eberle couldn't get away from playing with him and Mathew Barzal.
"Ebs went all the way to Europe just to play with us two goofs again," Beauvillier said. "We were kidding around, but he's probably a little sick of us now."
There was good reason for the Islanders line mates to get a shot together playing for Team Canada at last month's IIHF World Championships, where they were also joined by Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock. Barzal is the clubhouse favorite to win the Calder Trophy, Beauvillier scored 17 of his 21 goals after joining the line and Eberle had his best statistical year in three seasons.
"I think those guys are obviously great young players and I like playing with them," said Eberle, who had five points (2G, 3A) in 10 games. "You look at the way we finished the season and how well we played together, it wasn't really a surprise that we played on a line together."
But what Beauvillier was hinting at was how he and Barzal like to needle Eberle, affectionately calling the 28-year-old 'grandpa' or teaming up to chirp him in the Isles room.
Eberle got his licks in over in Denmark, joking in an IIHF interview that Barzal had the worst style on Canada while saying Beauvillier couldn't be trusted as the locker room DJ.
"They're young kids. I took my fair share of jabs when I was a kid and you kind of have to throw the younger guys under the bus rather than the older guys," Eberle said.
This was Eberle's sixth World Championship, so was the veteran on the international squad. For Barzal, Beauvillier, Bailey and Pulock, this year was their first trip to Worlds.
"It was the first time I had ever had that opportunity and it's definitely special to represent your country," said Bailey, who had four points (1G, 3A) in nine games. "I grew up watching lots of Hockey Canada stuff and as my career started, kept watching and always hoped that one day I'd get a chance. That was definitely a big honor and a lot of pride goes into being able to represent your country."
Canada finished fourth at the tournament, losing the bronze medal game to Anders Lee and Team USA, but all five Islanders recorded at least a point. Barzal led the Isles in attendance with seven assists in 10 games.
While the five Islanders made up nearly a quarter of the Canadian roster, they used the opportunity to meet new players around the league. For Beauvillier, playing with Connor McDavid, the NHL's two-time reigning scoring leader, was a thrill and an opportunity to learn.
"He's one of the best in the league, if not the best," Beauvillier said. "He can do things on the ice at such a high speed. I was looking forward to playing with him and he's a good leader on and off the ice. He's a guy who's having so much success and he's my age. It's pretty impressive to see."
Eberle, who spent seven seasons with the Oilers, helped facilitate introductions between the two orange and blue squads. But even for a six-time veteran like Eberle, each Worlds experience offers something different and the chance to meet new players.
"I was 28 and I was the second or third oldest guy on the team, so a lot of these guys were really young. A lot of these guys like [Pierre-Luc] Dubois or [Thomas] Chabot, I hadn't really experienced playing in juniors with and they're new to the league."
Bailey, Beauvillier and Eberle all raved about their time in Denmark. The tournament was split between Copenhagen and Herning and Bailey and Beauvillier had their families out to enjoy the festivities.
As for what Beauvillier said he'll remember most about Denmark, it'll be the international fans and playing in a different environment.
"The fans are kind of wild, it's like soccer, they chant all game," Beauvillier said. "The fans there in Denmark are proud and that's what stood out for me."
They all got material keepsakes from Hockey Canada as well, team autographed game-worn jerseys to go along with some good memories.
"All in all a good experience," Bailey said. "Tough way to end it, but I'm glad I had the chance to go."