Jordan Eberle’s resume from 823 NHL games carries a lot of weight.
A 30-goal campaign, six times past the 20-goal plateau, 12 NHL seasons.
For a new NHL team continuously strengthening a footprint in the Pacific Northwest and the hockey world, he also carries the torch of Kraken leading scorer (at the time of his selection, since taken over by Jared McCann), and bearer of first natural hat trick in franchise history.
He’s back. After hanging out to start his Friday in Las Vegas with former Edmonton Oilers teammates Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, he donned a crisp, new blue jersey where the bright lights – including those at Friday’s media availability – have taken over.
“It’s an honor to be here with some of the best players in the game,” said Eberle. “Coming to this All-Star game – I went a long time ago and I was younger. Now that I’m married with a little girl, it’s nice to share with them and enjoy it that way.”
For a second career trip to the All-Star game, he has the distinct honor or carry the Kraken logo – a symbol of hockey’s next geographic triumph – into an annual made-for-TV event in Las Vegas with teammates he’ll join, similarly carrying distinguished and household resumes in the hockey world.
Eberle will skate in the annual All-Star Skills event today at 4:30pm PT with Saturday’s NHL All-Star Game, at T-Mobile Arena, set for Noon PT.
His role in the skills event is defined in a setting that’s truly one-of-a-kind Vegas:
The “Fountain Face-Off,” including Eberle, will be televised from the iconic waterfront fountains of the doorstep of Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel, where eight players travel by boat to a makeshift rink. From there, players aim for targets in the least amount of time in a qualifying round, down to a “head-to-head” final.
Players will be shown maneuvering challenges with fountain sprays, and a light windy breeze off the Las Vegas strip.
Eberle, competing with Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and seven other players, already said there’s been light, friendly teasing and a wager between the two surrounding the event at The Bellagio on Thursday.
“Him and I got into it,” said Eberle with a smile. “He’s a good chirper and able to back it up with how good he is.”
Factoids of All-Star years with NHL expansion teams, since the league’s expansion boom of the 1990’s:
Here’s what to expect with Eberle:
· ALL-STAR APPEARANCE: 2nd in his career.
· LAST TIME HE APPEARED: 2012 NHL All-Star Game (Ottawa), earned an assist representing the Edmonton Oilers
· THAT GAME: It took a creative matchup approach, dividing the teams into “Team Chara” and “Team Alfredsson.” Both captains (Zdeno Chara of Boston, Daniel Alfredsson of Ottawa) were voted on by the players in the game. A “fantasy draft” was then held where Eberle was picked for Team Chara.
· DID YOU KNOW: A total of 10 seasons have passed since the last All-Star Game appearance for Eberle, set to become the 11th player in NHL history to play 10 seasons or more in between appearances.
· SKILLS COMPETITION (4:30pm PT, ESPN): Eberle will compete in the “Discover NHL Fountain Face-Off,” along with United States women’s Olympic gold medalist Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Claude Giroux (Philadelphia), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), Roman Josi (Nashville), Nick Suzuki (Montreal), Zach Werenski (Columbus), Mark Stone (Vegas).
· ANOTHER DID YOU KNOW: Who owns the hardest shot in All-Star skills history? That belongs to Zdeno Chara in 2012. “Big Z,” then with the Boston Bruins leaned into one at 108.8 miles per hour. It came after Chara broke the record each of the previous two years, originally set in 1993 by Al Iafrate of the Washington Capitals (105.2).
· OTHER EVENTS: Fastest Skater, NHL Save Streak (goaltending), Hardest Shot, Breakaway Challenge, NHL 21 in ’22 (street hockey / black jack concept game on Las Vegas Boulevard), Accuracy Shooting
· THE GAME: Noon PT, ABC. Three games, 3-on-3 format, with the first two between the Atlantic Division, Central Division, Metropolitan Division, and Pacific Division. Winner of each qualifying game will compete in a tournament final.
· COACHES: Peter DeBoer, Vegas (Pacific), Jared Bednar, Colorado (Central), Rod Brind’Amour, Carolina (Metropolitan), Andrew Brunette, Florida (Atlantic)
After this, it’s back home to Seattle for Eberle, where the Kraken will resume play on Wednesday, Feb. 9 against Arizona – and before some of his most favorite people.
“From the moment I got there, in the expansion draft to know, it’s been first class,” said Eberle. “The fans have been the greatest part about playing in the city of Seattle.”
“We’re starting to play well now, win games, create a little bit of an identity,” said Eberle. “Obviously the team is going to get better.”