Former Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel made his return to Buffalo on Thursday for the first time since his November trade to the Vegas Golden Knights. When the game was over, he had some interesting things to say about the reaction he got.

Eichel said some nice things about the Sabres and the video tribute he received. When he turned his attention to the fans, Eichel had some nice things to say. He also had some jabs that were about as subtle as a punch to the face.

Those comments weren’t especially well received.

It was indeed a happy night for Eichel’s old team as the Sabres defeated the Golden Knights 3-1. Making matters even sweeter for the Buffalo fans, Alex Tuch’s game-clinching goal came after he intercepted a pass from Eichel, who skated right by him and down the ice for the uncontested empty netter.

Given the circumstances around his departure, Eichel’s return to Buffalo was always going to be emotional. That’s frequently the case when an old player returns to his previous city for the first time as an opponent. Usually the intensity simmers in subsequent visits but after his comments, Eichel should expect nothing of the kind.

Normally, we don’t think of the Sabres and Golden Knights as a particularly intense rivalry. That won’t be the case going forward. The two teams don’t play again this season but when Eichel returns to Buffalo next year, it will be worth watching.

[Matthew Bové, Jesse Granger]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.