The Kings were going to win the Stanley Cup.
"You couldn't get a chance on them and when you did, you shot against [Jonathan] Quick," Eberle said during a chat late last week. "They played so well defensively and they had all that firepower. They were playing their best hockey."
Los Angeles' success in the playoffs as the No. 8 seed has provided Eberle and his young teammates with a bit of inspiration. Get in the playoffs during this wild-card shortened season and then see what happens.
"It's just a matter of getting there and playing your best hockey when you are there," Eberle said.
Yeah, getting there. That has been a bit of a problem for the Oilers the past few years. Even staying out of the NHL basement has been a bit of a challenge. But before the lockout kicked in, expectations were high for this young Oilers team.
They added the skilled Russian Nail Yakupov with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft last June, then lured Justin Schultz to sign with the organization, immediately making him the best defenseman prospect the franchise has.
Factor in the hiring of respected and well-liked coach Ralph Kruegerand the maturity they've developed from their growing pains the past several years, and there was plenty of room for growth. Then the lockout hit and changed everything.
While other teams had key players sitting and waiting, Edmonton's best were playing together in Oklahoma City on North American ice dominating statistically in the AHL.
Suggest to these young players that it's a huge advantage for them when the season opens as expected on Jan. 19 and you get no argument. They completely believe it.
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