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PRINCIPE: Jordan-ating Offence

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Eberle celebrates his 100th career NHL goal (photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)

Well, if you are looking for the hottest player in the NHL right now you'll find him not far from Wayne Gretzky Drive. In fact, take a drive down the ramp on the east side of the building just off 118 ave. Work your way through security and go right. Make about a 30-second walk and you'll find yourself in front of the Edmonton Oilers dressing room doors. Walk in and as you hit the five Stanley Cups encased in glass take a quick left and a hard right. Keep going past the goalie stalls, you'll slide by Benoit Pouliot, Teddy Purcell and and Rob Klinkhammer's stalls. There's a doorway that would take you into the back of the Oilers dressing room but bypass that and go one more stall. Stop. Have a look at the name plate and it will read Jordan Eberle.

More than 700 players in the NHL, but none are Jordan-ating or generating offence like Edmonton's #14. I mean, he sits beside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who is hot enough to reach 20 goals in a season for the first time or across the room is Nail Yakupov who has points in five straight games. That's still not quite up to the standard currently set by Eberle. He is on a six-game point scoring streak which ties a career high for him. It's also the longest current streak in the NHL and almost halfway to the 13 straight games in which Columbus' Ryan Johansen had a point from December 18 to January 17. For Eberle, it all started March 8th versus Carolina with three points (1 goal, 2 assists). The next night, one assist versus Detroit. Back-to-back two point (1-1) outings vs Pittsburgh and Columbus. Another three-point production (1-2) versus Toronto and one more point against the Blue Jackets Wednesday night. Six games, four goals, eight assists and 12 points.

As @TheChrisWescott so aptly put it in his game report on that Eberle 'danced around Artem Anisimov' to help set up RNH's 20th. It was like Eberle was skating or dancing on air to record his 56th point of the season which has pushed him into a tie for 30th in NHL scoring. The winger has gone from the depths of despair (14 games without a goal) to equal the best points stretch of his time with the Oilers. It reminds me of the Eberle who was an All-Star back in the 2011-12 season when he put up career-best totals in goals (34) assists (42)and points (76). I mean, Eberle certainly hasn't been a slouch since then. 37 points during the 48-game lockout season. Another 28 goals and 65 points last season. I'm seeing the reason Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish told @Sportsnet and everyone else on trade deadline day that he had 'zero interest' in trading the 24 year old.

It was really the first year where Eberle's name had come up in trade talks. Well let me clarify supposedly come up in trade talks. Other teams can talk about him but there's no conversation if the Oilers aren't listening. While he handled it very professionally it still had to be somewhere in the back of his mind. March 2nd MacTavish says Eberle isn't going anywhere. March 8th Eberle starts scoring everywhere. Coincidence? Maybe.

You can see it on his face and see it in his game that Eberle is having fun again. He gets paid to produce and it's exactly what he's doing. We all have roles in life and the winger's role in the past, present and future is to put up points: something he's currently doing better than any other NHL player.
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