If you’re a Bruins fan hoping Jack Eichel wants to force his way to Boston, the latest public statements should get you excited.
And if you’re a Buffalo Sabres fan, you ought to be dejected after the team and Eichel’s camp have begun publicly engaging in an ugly spat. It started with Sabres GM Kevyn Adams, who spoke candidly on Thursday about trade talks involving Eichel.
“What’s critically important to make sure is clear is that we’re in control of this process, we have a player under contract, we don’t feel any pressure,” Adams said (via Buffalo News). “If there’s a deal out there that we feel is the right thing for the Buffalo Sabres … we’d be open to it. We’re not in a position where we feel that we’re just going to do something to do it. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Eichel’s agents, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli, thought the word “process” was an interesting one to use, based on the pointed statement they issued Friday.
“The process is not working,” the statement reads, in part, before transitioning to comments on Eichel’s health situation. “As previously stated, we fully anticipated a trade by the start of the NHL free agency period. After the agreed upon and prescribed period for conservative rehabilitation lapsed in early June 2021, it was determined by the Sabres medical staff that a surgical procedure was required. The recommendation by Jack’s independent neurosurgeon, other spine specialists consulted, and the surgery Jack feels most comfortable having in order to correct a herniated disc in his neck is to proceed with Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery.”
Here’s the full statement, via John Vogl of The Athletic:
Jack Eichel’s agents issue the following statement: pic.twitter.com/tiPXShdchz— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) July 31, 2021
Eichel has been sidelined with the disc issue in his neck since March. And of course, neck injuries are nothing to play around with, and Eichel’s own comments coupled with his agents’ indicate that they are extremely displeased with how the Sabres have handled it.
How about this for a conspiracy theory: these public comments about Eichel’s health are serving to drive down his price in a potential trade, which makes it more tenable for the Bruins to field a competitive offer.
It’s not totally out of bounds to theorize that Eichel, a native of North Chelmsford, Mass., really wants to be a Bruin. He recently skated at Warrior Ice Arena with Bruins players. Fish also represented now-retired Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller. The Boston ties are heavy.
Even if Eichel doesn’t end up a Bruin, it seems that a trade could be imminent, and the deal will have a ripple effect across the league wherever he ends up. So it’s certainly something that’s worth continuing to monitor.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.