A week after the Buffalo Sabres went up against their former teammate and the Las Vegas Knights, people are still talking about their hatred for Jack Eichel and, more specifically, his post-game comments, but we’re about to take a bird’s eye view of this whole situation and try to understand not only Jack Eichel, but you – your role as a Sabres fan.

Ahead of the match-up, Eichel insisted that there was “no bitterness.” 

 

“I had a phenomenal time here in Buffalo, lived out a childhood dream playing in my first NHL game.”

Some people are saying that Eichel must have been lying through his teeth when he made these pre-game comments, but I don’t think so. 

You have to remember, Jack Eichel was drafted into the NHL in 2015 when he was only 19 years old. Buffalo was his life for 6 years, and yeah, he may not have left on the best note, but Eichel never indicated that the city of Buffalo (or its people) were the reason behind that.

In an end-of-season interview with Jack Eichel in May 2021, he spoke about what he wanted and needed as a player in the NHL.

In May, Eichel said he had “been a bit upset about the ways things have been handled” since he had gotten hurt.

“I’d be lying to say that things have moved smoothly since my injury. There’s been a bit of a disconnect between myself and the organization,” Eichel said. “Right now, the most important thing now is to get healthy and be ready to play hockey next year, wherever that might be.”

Inevitably, he ended up getting traded, but in Eichel’s defense, he was only trying to get treatment for an injury that was causing him pain so that he could get back on the ice.

If the Vegas Knights were the team that allowed Eichel to do that, then who are we to judge him for leaving? That makes sense, if we’re being honest.

What doesn’t make sense is Jack Eichel’s post-game comments after the Buffalo Sabres managed to pull through and secure the “W” against their former teammate 3-1, especially after hearing his pre-game perspective on the situation.  

After a reporter asked Jack Eichel if he was surprised with the level of intensity with the crowd, Eichel had quite a response. 

“Yeah, it’s about the loudest I’ve heard this place ever,” Eichel said. “It only took 7 years and me leaving for them to get into the game.”

Then, Eichel spoke about the tribute that KeyBank Center held for his return to Buffalo.

“It was a nice tribute, and you know, there were plenty of people here supporting me and plenty of people here booing me,” Eichel said.

But here’s the comment that everyone is so hung up on.

They must just be booing me because they wish I was still here.

I’ll admit; that was uncool, Jack, but I think everyone decided to check out and stop listening after that comment, when really you should hear what Eichel said next. 

“It is what it is, I mean, I’m not the first kid to deal with it,” Eichel said. “So [I’ll] just move on, and yeah it was a tough game, and I give them credit. They played hard.”

Now I’m about to say something that you may not agree with, but bare with me here. 

Eichel referred to himself as a kid when he said “I’m not the first kid to deal with it,” because when you think about Eichel’s career in the NHL, he has only ever known the Buffalo Sabres. This was his home, and the first city he lived in his young adult life. 

And I think it’s easy to try and compare Eichel’s immaturity to Josh Allen’s maturity, because they are the same age, but they come from two totally different backgrounds which is worth noting. 

For context, Josh Allen grew up in California, but he made the move to Wyoming to play college football in 2015, where he played three years before joining the NFL. Having this type of independence in college to find himself and mature a bit is definitely important to note before comparing Jack Eichel’s story and handling of things to Josh Allen’s. 

Jack Eichel, on the other hand, played one year with Boston University, which was only about 37 minutes from the town where he grew up in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, so he never really had that independence to find himself, grow up, and mature a bit. Two months after completing his first year of college hockey, Eichel was selected 2nd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. 

So yes, they are clearly different and had different upbringings so they may not handle things the same. 

But in the end, there’s only one thing you can control, and that’s you.

Yeah, I mean you reading this.

Were you one of the people that booed Eichel during the tribute last week? Were you premeditating the trash talk that you were going to yell at him from the seats or from the comfort of your couch? 

Like, what does that say about you?

Sure, you have every right to boo someone, but it’s not exactly the mature thing to do, now is it? And what kind of an example does that set for those closer to you?

I mean, if you’re in your 40s or up, you realize that you are taking enjoyment in booing someone half your age? 

I think that’s gross.

I’m not saying Jack Eichel’s comments are ok or even justified, because ultimately he should have had some self control to resist responding to the haters, but I can see why it would be hard to bite your tongue when the city you have called home for 6 years boos you during something that was supposed to be a nice tribute.

And I kind of see Jack’s side.

Listen, I’m 22, and I only moved here in July. Everyone is so quick to say “Women need to help other women,” but the amount of moms that are double my age or more, with kids my age, that attack me on the internet and tell me to “go back to where you came from” is pretty preposterous and, quite frankly, sad. 

Like Eichel, I sometimes wish I could respond and say, “This is sad. You have a whole kid that is my age. What if someone said these nasty things to your kid? Bet it would be a different story then.”

But you shouldn’t respond because trust me, there are better things in life than arguing with internet trolls and stadium haters, like for example – your FAMILY. Just a thought.

I do see why Buffalo Sabres fans are upset with Eichel’s comments, as you should be, but it’s clear that his emotions were charged and he’s not the most mature, so let’s cut him some slack and be glad that his attitude is not apart of the Sabres team dynamic anymore. I’m sure he is regretful for what he said, and hopefully he adapts his overall mental attitude going forward.

As pre-game Eichel put it, let's have "no bitterness."

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