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Barkley Not Recognized By Eichel; “Looked At Me Like, Who The Hell Are You?”

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Former Buffalo Sabres team captain Jack Eichel is having an excellent postseason and has a big fan in Charles Barkley, but Eichel apparently does not know who he is.

“I walked up to Jack Eichel and said how great he was,” Barkley relayed to Hockey Night In Canada’s Kyle Bukauskas on Saturday, “I think he had zero idea who I was.”

Barkley co-hosts Turner Broadcasting’s NBA panel with Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith and frequently drops in on the TNT Stanley Cup Playoff coverage because he is a big hockey fan. The Basketball Hall-of-Famer is staying at the same hotel as the Vegas Golden Knights and bumped into Eichel in the lobby and wanted to show his appreciation as a fan.

“Hey Mr. Eichel, it’s an honor, you’re a great player,” Barkley said. “but he looked at me like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ It was pretty funny.”

Barkley, O’Neal, and Smith hosted Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk in Miami during the Boston Celtics – Heat series last month, and it is possible that he was pretending to not know who the “Round Mound Of Rebound” was. It is also possible that Eichel does not know Barkley since his playing career ended when the former second-overall pick was four years old.

Eichel Conn Smythe Candidate?

Eichel is second behind linemate Jonathan Marchessault in scoring for Vegas (6 goals, 17 assists in 21 games) and is currently in the mix with center Chandler Stephenson and winger Mark Stone for the Conn Smythe Trophy (the post-season Most Valuable Player) if the Golden Knights can finish off the Panthers in Vegas on Tuesday.

The Golden Knights lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 after a 3-2 victory in Sunrise, FL on Saturday. Eichel has been shaken up a couple of times during the Cup Final, taking a big open-ice hit from Tkachuk in Game 2 and a shot to the side of the head from Marchessault in the second period of Game 4.