Islanders RW Jordan Eberle couldn't help himself. He wanted to continue playing with his linemates.
Eberle traveled to Denmark to join Team Canada in the IIHF World Championship, and playing on the same line with Islanders LW Anthony Beauvillier and C Mathew Barzal again was the main reason why. Eberle had his best season in three years with that line, posting 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) over 81 games.
"Ebs went all the way to Europe just to play with us two goofs again," Beauvillier told NHL.com's Cory Wright. "We were kidding around, but he's probably a little sick of us now."
Eberle, who reunited with RW Josh Bailey and D Ryan Pulock as well, admitted it is fun to play with Beauvillier and Barzal.
"I think those guys are obviously great young players and I like playing with them," he said. "You look at the way we finished the season and how well we played together, it wasn't really a surprise that we played on a line together."
Despite being only 28 years old, Eberle is the elder of the three as Beauviller and Barzal are both 21. But they too enjoyed success on their line despite the Islanders' struggle last season. Beauvillier had 17 of his 21 goals with Barzal and Eberle on the ice, and Barzal's 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) makes him the favorite to win the Calder Trophy (NHL's equivalent to Rookie of the Year) this season.
The youngsters like to joke with the seasoned veteran, calling him "grandpa" and poking fun at him. However, that doesn't mean Eberle lets them off easy.
"They're young kids. I took my fair share of jabs when I was a kid and you kind of have to throw the younger guys under the bus rather than the older guys," Eberle said.
One way Eberle jokes around with Barzal is about his outfits, which he called the worst on Team Canada. As for Beauvillier, Eberle said he can't be the locker room DJ due to his awful taste in music.
Eberle was also one of the older players on Team Canada, as the rest of the Islanders on the squad played in their first World Championship. Bailey said it was a thrill to represent the maple leaf crest across his sweater.
"It was the first time I had ever had that opportunity and it's definitely special to represent your country," Bailey who totaled four points in the tournament, said. "I grew up watching lots of Hockey Canada stuff and as my career started, kept watching and always hoped that one day I'd get a chance. That was definitely a big honor and a lot of pride goes into being able to represent your country."
All in all, Team Canada couldn't beat Team USA in the bronze medal game as they took fourth place. However, the experience is what mattered, especially to those Isles that hadn't played internationally before.
For Beauvillier meeting and playing alongside top NHL stars like Oilers Connor McDavid was something he won't forget.
"He's one of the best in the league, if not the best," Beauvillier said of the two-time scoring champion. "He can do things on the ice at such a high speed. I was looking forward to playing with him and he's a good leader on and off the ice. He's a guy who's having so much success and he's my age. It's pretty impressive to see."
Bailey wanted to get that gold medal, but for his first time representing his country, he'll take the experience.
"All in all a good experience," Bailey said. "Tough way to end it, but I'm glad I had the chance to go."