Jack Eichel might have some hard feelings towards Buffalo Sabres’ fans.
Eichel made his much-anticipated return to Buffalo on Thursday as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. The superstar was drafted second overall by Buffalo in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the first seven years of his career in Buffalo before getting traded to Vegas.
Eichel had a falling out with Buffalo management after suffering a spinal disk herniation last season. Eichel wanted to undergo disk replacement surgery, while the Sabres argued for fusion surgery. The team had the ultimate final say due to the NHL’s CBA Agreement.
Eichel was eventually stripped of his Buffalo captaincy and traded to Vegas on November 4th. Eichel underwent disk replacement surgery on Nov. 12 and made his Golden Knights debut on Feb. 16.
Ahead of Eichel’s return to Buffalo, he told reporters there were “no hard feelings” between him and the Sabres. After the game, however, it was a bit of a different story…
Eichel was booed by Sabres fans throughout his return. Many fans had made signs to express their displeasure with their former captain. One of the signs read “Thanks for nothing Eichel”
The Sabres beat the Golden Knights by a 3-1 score at KeyBank Center. Buffalo had a season-high 12,437 fans in attendance for Eichel’s return. Eichel didn’t hold back in his post-game interview commenting on the passionate atmosphere.
“Yeah, it’s about the loudest I’ve heard this building ever. It only took 7 years and me leaving for them to get into the game,” Eichel said.
Eichel also acknowledged the boo’s that reigned down at KeyBank Center all game long.
“They must just be booing me because they wish I was still here.”
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
This is quite the passionate quote from Eichel, who made his feelings well-known. The Sabres never made the playoffs during Eichel’s tenure and are on pace to miss them again in 2021-22.
Although Eichel is in a new city, it’s not all sunset and rainbows. Vegas is only 4-6-1 since Eichel’s debut and are slipping in the Western Conference standings. The Knights currently occupy third-place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.
With Eichel popping off on Sabres fans, every future Vegas/Buffalo NHL game just became must-watch TV.