BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jack Eichel is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres. Thursday General Manager Kevyn Adams announced the forward won’t have the “C” on his jersey this season. It’s the latest move in the ongoing saga between the two sides.
His neck injury continues to be a dark cloud over the organization. Eichel and the Sabres still haven’t agreed on whether or not to have disk replacement surgery on his neck.
“At this point Jack is not willing to move forward with what our doctors are suggesting which is the fusion surgery so we are going to continue to work towards solutions,” Adams said.
Eichel failed his physical Wednesday so he won’t be on the ice anytime soon. With no captain and no real solution to this problem on the horizon, this could be a distraction throughout the season. Head coach Don Granato disagrees.
“I don’t think it’s a distraction at all,” Granato said. “When you think of hockey players and athletes, they hit ‘predator mode,’ you are just so engaged and the competition puts you in the moment.”
Granato believes with so much going on with practices, camp, and getting ready for the season, there won’t be a distraction regarding Jack this season. Adams said Eichel himself doesn’t want to take the focus off the team either.
“He made it clear to me that he doesn’t want to be a distraction,” Adams said. “He doesn’t want to take away from what we are trying to build here. He will continue his rehab, not necessarily in this facility on a daily basis, but then we will work towards where we go from here.”
Players said this situation wouldn’t be a distraction. They’re focused on preparation for the upcoming season.
“[I’ve been] friends, teammates with Jack for a long time and it’s a tough position he is in,” forward Zemgus Girgensons said. “The focus here is just on us putting in the work in the camp.”
“[Kevyn Adams] was extremely forward in telling us what was going on and it quelled any questions that anybody had so there is no distractions anymore,” forward Kyle Okposo said.
While the players are keeping their eyes ahead, they still feel for Jack as a teammate, and hope to see him recover soon. Okposo hopes to see Eichel back on the ice again.
Granato has no plans to name a captain right now, and probably won’t anytime soon. Eichel is expected to be put on injured reserve.