Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Edmonton Oilers Youngsters Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle Take Lockout in Stride

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Edmonton Oilers Youngsters Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle Take Lockout in Stride

Article excerpt

Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle take lockout in stride

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OKLAHOMA CITY - This certainly wasn't how centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins envisioned starting the 2012-'13 hockey season.

But with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the NHL lockout, the sophomore forward is doing what he can to make the best of a bad situation.

Nugent-Hopkins was one of many Oilers youngsters in attendance Sunday at the opening of training camp for the Oklahoma City Barons, Edmonton's American Hockey League affiliate.

"It's good with everything that's going on to still get a chance to play and stay in shape," Nugent-Hopkins said. "There are some things I want to work on.

"A big thing for me is I want to be a two-way centre. I take a lot of pride in my defence, and that's something I'm definitely going to be focused on."

Nugent-Hopkins was among the NHL's top rookies last season, registering 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in 62 games. The former No. 1 overall selection did so despite missing 20 games with a shoulder injury.

Nugent-Hopkins sees his opportunity in Oklahoma City as a blessing in disguise, just as he does last season's injury.

"That first year I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could," he said. "It was a great learning experience.

"There were some positives from the injury. Watching the game from upstairs, I was able to see it from a different perspective, and I believe it will help me moving forward."

Moving forward is also what right-winger Jordan Eberle is concentrating on right now. Eberle hasn't spent much time in Oklahoma City, arriving Friday night, and he says he can already tell the winning attitude the team and the city have.

Eberle had 76 points (34 goals, 42 assists) last season with Edmonton. Eberle has earned a reputation for being a scorer but doesn't want to be known as a one-dimensional player.

"I've always been known as an offensive guy," he said. …

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