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.
Jack Eichel: yeah, it's about the loudest I've heard this building ever. Really, it only took seven years and me leaving to get into the game……..they must just be booing me because they wish I was still here 👀 @WKBW pic.twitter.com/2FatvHS1d7
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) March 11, 2022
Those comments weren’t especially well received.
Super villain feature activated. https://t.co/AegweDpiqC
— Christopher Parker (@Bulldogwgr) March 11, 2022
Imagine taking a cheap shot at the fans of the organization that made you C, gave you $80M and fired multiple coaches at your request.
Still think management ruined his tenure, but he should have contained his frustration better here. https://t.co/AufwflpJRW
— Michael Iati-LaFave (@MichaelLaFave) March 11, 2022
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) March 11, 2022
This is hilarious…and sad…but mostly hilarious. https://t.co/YcFohrGwDh
— Greg Vorse TV (@GregVorse) March 11, 2022
— SabreScott (@bflosabrescott) March 11, 2022
The booing isn’t really warranted but this ain’t how you handle it https://t.co/c4FAJU7Exv
— Jack (@DyIanCozens) March 11, 2022
— Courtney Tripp (@courtneyTripp86) March 11, 2022
Yeah, and it resulted in the usual result for Jack: a loss https://t.co/PK2VMZABx3
— Adrian Dater (@adater) March 11, 2022
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.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 11, 2022
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.
If Jack Eichel thought tonight was bad, he better buckle up for the next round after taking those shots at #Sabres fans.
— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) March 11, 2022
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.