Jack Eichel Officially Stripped of Sabres Captaincy

Andrew Forsyth, Staff Writer

Oh captain my captain said the Sabres after Jack Eichel fails his pre camp physical and is stripped of the captaincy. Eichel has served as team captain since the 2018 season. Although no longer will the “C” in gold be on his chest. As of today he is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres.
This to be honest was expected. The void building between the player and team was one that seemed unrepairable. The Sabres wanted Eichel to rehab his neck injury but Eichel wanted surgery.
Tuesday September twenty first it was reported by Elliote Friedman of Sportsnet that if Eichel was to fail his physical, the captaincy would be removed from Jack Eichel. Well it is now September twenty third and Eichel failed his physical and is no longer captain of the Sabres.
Now the Sabres enter camp without a captain and without their best player. To be honest, neither of those are a big issue. Yes Jack Eichel is a franchise talent but the relationship between him and the team is beyond repair. Eichel most likely would not have suited up as a Sabre regardless of health.
The issue of not having a captain really is no issue at all. The Sabres are a young team that still need to grow together and gel together to become competitive. You don’t need a captain to do that.
Certain guys and players will step up and be a leader in the locker room but you don’t need to have the label of a captain just yet. To put the pressure of the captain on one of the young players like they did to Eichel will most likely result in turmoil. So let a player step up into that leadership role and then name him captain.
What does this mean for Eichel’s future in buffalo? Well it’s safe to say it is over. If he plays another game as a Sabre it will be shocking. He has been vocal about wanting out and was expected to be traded before training camp was even started. Although due to many different factors that did not happen.
Eichel will most likely now get surgery or sit out the season until he is traded. Now the Sabres need to lower their asking price if they ever want to trade Eichel but that’s a completely different issue.
How does this affect the guys in camp? I think this should be a weight lifted off all of the players in camp. They no longer have to worry about the tense conversations with Eichel or the awkward moments.
This should also help to build the culture that was starting to form towards the end of the year without Eichel. Eichel was a well known culture cancer. He loved winning and that was all he knew growing up so when the sabres kept losing, it was a hard pill for him to swallow.
This gives an opportunity for younger players like Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittlestadt to jump up in the lineup and get some starting minutes and some well deserved opportunities for both of them.
Eichel being stripped of the captaincy was not shocking. It was not a “bomb” per say. Although it is still a culture shock. The team is going into the season without a captain for the first time since the team began assuming they don’t name a captain. This is a huge shift in the Eichel situation that will have heavy implications for months to come until he is traded or the relationship is mended. I doubt that happens so we will be seeing Eichel in a different jersey sometime soon.
Although right now camp is upon us. Let’s watch some rookies develop and see who makes the lineup. As well as wait to hear the haul the Sabres eventually get when Jack Eichel is finally sent packing. Until then we’ll be right here rooting for the blue and gold. Let’s Go Sabres!