Because of postponement, former Islander Jordan Eberle will have to wait to face his old teammates again
This was a game Jordan Eberle had anticipated since the Seattle Kraken selected him from the Islanders in the offseason expansion draft, but he’ll have to wait a little longer now.
The Kraken were scheduled to make their lone visit to UBS Arena on Saturday afternoon, but Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for Long Island, New York City and three other counties beginning Friday at 8 p.m. and LIRR announced it would suspend service overnight. So the game was postponed until Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"It’s been the one that you circle right when you see the schedule," Eberle said Friday after the Kraken practiced in Pittsburgh. The Islanders were off on Friday.
"My time on the Island was obviously pretty fun. Any time you go through eight or nine playoff series with pretty much the same group, you’re going to gain some friendships. That’s the hardest part. We’ve been through a lot as a group when I was there."
Eberle, who is in the third season of a five-year, $27.5 million deal, spent four seasons with the Islanders after being acquired from the Oilers. He had 76 goals and 93 assists in 272 regular-season games for the Islanders, often playing on Mathew Barzal’s top line with Anders Lee. He added 13 goals and 21 assists in 49 playoff games as the Islanders reached the NHL semifinals the past two seasons, only to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
"The best memories are also the worst memories," Eberle said. "Making it to the conference final both times and losing, especially last year in Game 7. Those are the memories that I share. When you go through so many playoff series with pretty much the same group, you gain friendships, you gain bonds, and that’s the stuff that you’ll remember for sure when you leave this game."
Eberle left the Islanders just before they opened their long-awaited new arena. Having heard the plans, he is interested in the finished product.
"You talk to the guys, UBS sounds like it’s an amazing arena," Eberle said. "I know the fans and the guys, they’ve enjoyed every bit of it. So I’m excited to play there."
In addition to his ties to the Islanders, Eberle has hometown ties to Hall of Famer Clark Gillies, who passed away at age 67 on Jan. 21.
Both Eberle and Gillies grew up in Saskatchewan and both played junior hockey for the Regina Pats.
"He was a little bit before me," Eberle said. "Him being a Saskatchewan guy, me being a Saskatchewan guy, playing for the Pats, both of us. As I played [for Regina], his jersey is in the rafters. I got to know who he was pretty quickly. Once I got traded to Long Island, he was around quite a bit. Just an outstanding human being.
"Those guys made [themselves] accessible to us in the locker room. Heard some of their stories and how they won. He meant a lot to the province of Saskatchewan and I know from the fan base on Long Island, he meant a lot to them."