As the playoff teams gear up for the next stage, a player on a decidedly non-playoff team has become the hottest topic in hockey. Is Jack Eichel done with the Sabres, much like his ex-teammate Taylor Hall seemed to be?
In 16 games for the Bruins since the trade deadline, Hall has proven that his own talent wasn’t the issue in Buffalo. The situation may be similar for Eichel, who is on track for his lowest offensive output since his rookie season. Hall stuck up for his former Sabres teammate when asked about Eichel’s situation, alluding to issues with Buffalo that may have also played some role in Hall’s own dissatisfaction.
“I know Jack is frustrated,” Hall told reporters after the Bruins’ 3-2 win Monday night. “Jack and I became really, really good friends during our time in Buffalo and I support him. I know he’s gone through some stuff with the medical staff there. Ultimately, Jack has to worry about himself. There’s teams that they’re going to … just like he said, they’re going to worry about what’s best for them, and Jack has to do what’s best for him.
“I know he’s got an injury that he feels he can take care of with a surgery, and there’s a little bit of a disagreement. But I support Jack and he was nothing but a great teammate and really good friend when I played with him.”
In the first part of his answer, Hall held himself accountable for failing to produce up to his potential with the Sabres.
“There were some really dark days this year in Buffalo,” Hall said. “I hadn’t really talked a lot about it, but I didn’t play well. I don’t have anyone else to blame for that, for my play in Buffalo, other than myself. It just didn’t work out. I came in prepared, I came in, worked hard, and for whatever reason, we just didn’t have it. We had a great group of guys in the locker room, the chemistry was great. When it was time to perform in the game, I didn’t do my job, and I’m sure a lot of guys would say the same thing.”