Whenever a player leaves an organization, there’s typically a bit of negative hangover and revisionist history that comes with what legacy that player leaves behind. When it comes to Jack Eichel and his time with the Buffalo Sabres, a few reports suggest his time was not incredibly well received. In fact, one report suggests the Sabres wanted to move on from Eichel so badly, they weren’t willing to take him back even if he’d decided he wanted to return.
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Obviously, with any story like this, it’s hard to know if there’s a bit of bias coming from the sources. Sabres fans today are probably not terribly happy with the fact Eichel is gone and that things worked out as they did when he departed and was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. Eichel hinted that he wasn’t happy in Buffalo after the trade became official and expectedly, that likely doesn’t sit well with supporters of the team.
That said, Craig Rivet noted on the After The Whistle podcast that Eichel was hard to deal with and not a professional. He explained, “There’s a lot of people in this city that I know inside the organization and the way that Jack presented himself, let’s put aside the captain thing, let’s talk about the person… the way that he treated people around the rink, in the dressing room, around the city was not a positive thing.”
Eichel has since talked about his time with the Sabres and in one interview with the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, he even claimed that he told Sabres if they let me have the neck surgery he’d wanted, he’d have come back to play for the organization. In other words, just because things were contentious didn’t mean Eichel had considered quitting on the team. The only problem as Peters said during the After the Whistle podcast, is that “all I thought to myself was well this just speaks to how badly the Sabres did not want you around anymore.”
The question some will be asking after listening to this podcast is if these attitude issues are a personality trait of the player, or if these attitude issues were isolated to the situation in Buffalo. If the former, that’s not great news for the Golden Knights. If the latter, Eichel will probably have a renewed sense of appreciation for his situation and be the ultimate teammate.
What Really Happened in Buffalo?
The real story of how that relationship fell apart may never truly see the light of day. Each side will have their take and the perspectives will likely change the narrative. At this point, perhaps it doesn’t matter.
Eichel is gone, he’s a part of the Golden Knights organization and set to get the surgery he wanted this Friday. The Sabres held firm on the trade and landed the multiple pieces they wanted, including Peyton Krebs who GM Kevyn Adams says he targeted from the very beginning.
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