Gene Principe talks about the line of Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall playing together once again last night -- and succeeding
Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins celebrate after scoring a goal. (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC)
For those of you that saw it, I apologize. It may be too late to win back your respect and admiration after opening up the Edmonton-St.Louis game with a 'Peaches and Herb' reference on Tuesday night. I couldn't help myself from incorporating the 1980 song 'Reunited'. That ballad by the American duo went #1 both in the U.S. and Canada. In my 46-year-old mind it seemed the best way to set up the story of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle being...you guessed it...reunited for the game against the Blues.
How else would you describe the Kid Line being back together again? It was like music to the ears of Oiler fans. Two #1 picks and a player who plays like a #1 put back together again. It couldn't have gone much better than the trio of talents combining for an eight point night in a 3-0 win over the Blues. Eberle with two goals and an assist, Hall with a goal and two assists and Nugent-Hopkins also pitching in with a pair of helpers. They looked like they should look on most nights. Energetic, creative, hard working and productive through a combination of skill and will.
You can't have one without the other and succeed. These kids have both. The skill part is easy to see. It's been on display ever since they laced up skates from Kingston to Regina and all the way to Burnaby. A cross-country connection between three young men when it comes to doing what they do best on the ice. The will part is the characteristic that isn't as easily on display. However you can't miss it when it's abundantly noticeable in games like the one against the Blues. St. Louis couldn't corral the kids so they tried to bully them like it was Grade 12 kids welcoming the Grade 10s to high school. They tried hard and often in the second period. Didn't work and the home side didn't go back to the game plan in the third.
When the season began Hall-RNH-Eberle were a trio. Great things were expected. Coming off what they did last season and then how they combined once Hall was healthy enough to play in the AHL. The threesome seemed unstoppable. They had it all and then some. Yet on the way to piling up points as a line and as a team something went wrong. They struggled scoring five on five. They weren't the only ones but it meant getting split up as the Oilers looked for even-strength offence. While the three went in separate directions and lines the idea was that one game they would once again get their chance. Game 32 of the season was it.
They may be kids by worldly standards but in the hockey world Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are growing up fast. Each understanding that being put together again might only be temporary if they didn't click. The pressure was on to produce points as a line and for a team that desperately needed it. They came through. They have a comfort level with each other that makes them fast friends off the ice and dangerous danglers on it. Each of them way too young to remember Peaches and Herb but yet still knowing that being Reunited feels so good.
Gene Principe is the host of Oilers games on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Oilers.