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Jack Eichel insists he knows who Charles Barkley is

Jack Eichel’s teammates started showing him the video shortly after the Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday.

He thinks there might be some things to clear up.

NBA legend and studio analyst Charles Barkley had done an interview during the broadcast during which he discussed his fandom of Eichel and a chance meeting between the two. Barkley said he thought Eichel had no clue who he was when they met.

“Yesterday I was at the hotel (in Florida),” Barkley said. “I walked up to Jack Eichel and said how great he was — I think he had zero idea who I was.

“He looked at me like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ It was pretty funny.”

After Monday’s practice, Eichel insisted he knew who Barkley was when they crossed paths.

“Of course I know who Charles Barkley is,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who doesn’t. He’s obviously all over the TV and has a great personality. I’m a big fan. I think it might have just been taken a bit wrong.”

Eichel said Barkley walked by while he was engaged in a conversation with someone else at the hotel in Fort Lauderdale. He said Barkley was polite and told him he didn’t want to interrupt but just wanted to meet him. After a quick handshake, Eichel said Barkley walked away and he carried on his conversation.

“That was the extent of it,” Eichel said. “I think that was a little unfortunate. It was taken out of context a bit.”

Eichel made clear he’s a big fan not only of Barkley but also the attention he has brought to hockey now that TNT is carrying the Stanley Cup Final.

“He’s awesome,” Eichel said. “It’s great he’s been following hockey, and it’s cool to see the relationship the TNT guys have formed. It was just a little unfortunate. Guys were showing it to me after the game, and it is what it is. But of course I’m a big ‘Inside the NBA’ fan.”

Hill’s hands unharmed

Goaltender Adin Hill was involved in a fracas at the end of Game 4 when the Panthers’ desperation attempts to attack the crease and jam the puck in the net created chaos.

“It was crazy,” he said. “Emotions are high, right? I kind of got slew-footed a few seconds before the end of the game. Then they had a guy come flying in to kind of start it all. So at that point, we have four guys on the ice, and they have six. We’re just trying to stand our ground and stand up for each other.”

Hill appeared to land a few punches, but said he isn’t feeling the effects.

“My hands are fine,” he said with a smile. “I had big gloves on to protect them.”

Those hands have served him well throughout the playoffs, as Hill is on the verge of winning a Stanley Cup with a fantastic postseason run.

Even though he’s spent most of his career as a backup, he’s always believed it was possible.

“I feel like starting my career as a child growing up, you face adversity,” he said. “You get cut from teams, don’t make every team you want. Didn’t get drafted in the WHL. You’re always going to have bumps in the road. It’s just about sticking to your plan and keep working.”

Hill said he thinks this is the best stretch of hockey he has ever played.

“I’m having fun and just enjoying it,” he said. “The team is having a good time, too. I feel like it’s almost the best everyone in this locker room has played, too. That’s what it takes to win a Stanley Cup.”

Enjoying the moment

Alec Martinez won his first Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings 11 years ago, and that team had a reunion last summer to reminisce about their accomplishments.

The Knights defenseman said that was the first time he had reflected on that championship run. Now, one victory from winning his third title, he’s only thinking about the present.

“That’s kind of something that once I’m done playing, I’ll probably reflect on more,” he said. “When you’re in it, it’s so much fun you want to do it again. I don’t really think that I live too much in the past. I’m just right now focused on trying to do it again.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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