As NHL Execs and union leaders prepare to meet in New York City to once again negotiate a cease-fire in the war that has destroyed at least half of an NHL season, Jordan Eberle seems to be more ready than ever to get back to work for the Oilers.
Playing in the American Hockey League during the lockout for the Oklahoma City Barons, where recently signed Oiler Justin Schultz has been turning heads, Oiler regulars like Eberle and Taylor Hall have been doing their part to remind us not just how bright the future in Edmonton is, but also how dangerous they can be in the Western Conference with a potentially shortened 48-game season.
On New Years Eve, Eberle celebrated 2012 with one of the best scoring feats of his career.
In a 5-2 win over the Texas Stars, Eberle, who leads the league in scoring with 49 points in 32 games, recorded a natural hat trick in only 2:43.
Eberle's first came at 15:44 of the first period on a feed from Hall. Eberle slid in behind the Texas defense and took the Hall pass between the circles, deking to the forehand to beat goaltender Yann Danis.
Nine seconds later, it was Hall setting up Eberle again. Eberle got the puck above the right face-off circle, carrying it down to the dot and lifting the puck over Danis' glove for his second goal of the shift.
At 18:27 on the powerplay, Eberle capped off his three minutes of dominance, taking a cross-zone feed from Schultz, driving the net and lifting a back-hander over Danis for the hat trick and his 23rd of the year. Eberle would later add an assist on Schultz's 17th of the season.
It remains to be seen whether or not the men behind the desk are ready to play hockey this season. Jordan Eberle certainly is.