Jack Eichel On The Sabres And Hating To Lose

By Ben Hamill - June 01 2020
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Jack Eichel On The Sabres And Hating To Lose

Sabres captain Jack Eichel thinks losing sucks. And after a tough 5 years Eichel seems to feel he’s basically been going nowhere slowly playing for a team that’s failed to make the playoffs for the duration of his time spent as a key franchise building block. The 23-year-old finds ‘being Sabres’ a particularly difficult pill to swallow down the hatch right now, especially on the back of what he referred to in a recent Zoom meeting as not only a ‘tough’ couple of months, but also a tough number of years following his 2015 No. 2 draft pick.

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The real ‘trouble’ weighing down the Sabres’ top-paid player, next to losing of course, appears to be precisely that: he’s only two seasons into an eight-year, US$80 million contract. Not the type of thing lending itself toward a sudden change of heart.

The Day The Curtain Dropped

But all things considered, Eichel did manage to keep his feelings about losing closely guarded and in hiding for most of a recent audio-only Zoom close-of-season Q&A session with Buffalo reporters late last week. The first 14 minutes of a 27-minute interview melee revolved around chit-chat of a more ‘positive’ nature, if you will.

This lasted right up to the point of his having been asked to venture a guess and assess about the future of the playoffs-missing Sabres. It was a this point that Jack Eichel finally ‘lost it’, launching into a full-on vent about how Buffalo couldn’t even pull off grabbing onto an expanded mid-crisis NHL playoff-style seasonal lifeline. And this after the franchise as recently as February this year swore by its commitment to stop the ‘wheels’ from coming off completely this time round, which had pretty much been the case for all of the past 5 years.

Its Not Been All Bad

But everything aside, and credit where due and all of that, the Buffalo leader did enjoy quite the breakout season that had at one point, if only fleetingly, catapulted him all the way into MVP conversations. His most recent performance was after all an NHL-wide 8th position finish with a career best 36 goals spread out over 78 points and 68 games. Not bad going for a man clearly, even if only mostly, looking for the closest exit.

His competitive drive clearly perfectly intact, he’s been likened in approach and intensity to “Last Dance” star Michael Jordan, which says quite a bit about everything from team-spirit to character. But as for whether these alone are enough to sustain Jack Eichel through times bound to grow even more difficult yet, only time will tell.

And really, all we – and certainly Jack Eichel and all the rest of them too - have right now, is time.

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