There has never been a way to avoid the muscle-burning, lung-busting sensations that have followed every break he’s taken, so Jordan Eberle knew all too well what was coming when the Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice on Monday.

“If you take two days off, you feel like you’ve never played hockey before when you get back on the ice. Today was definitely a tough day. We were huffing and puffing,” he said after the Oilers’ afternoon practice session wrapped up at Rexall Place, signalling the end of the NHL all-star break.

“I always find when you take a few days off and you get back out there, it’s going to suck, plain and simple, but by tomorrow, we’ll be back to normal.”

The Oilers, who haven’t played since their 5-4 shootout win over the Washington Capitals a week ago, return to Rexall Tuesday to host the Minnesota Wild in one of several games on the National Hockey League schedule.

It will be the first of the final 35 games the Oilers have left to play before making yet another early exit, but with the team on a stretch that has seen them scratch out a record of 5-4-2, Eberle said it’s as good a time as any to pick up where they left off.

The Oilers defeated the Capitals and the Florida Panthers before the players and staff scattered for their five-day break.

Eberle headed to Banff; Rob Klinkhammer and his wife spent time readying a room for their first child, who is due to arrive in March. Others sought out some sunshine, while head coach Todd Nelson elected to kick back for a few hockey-less days.