Sabres' Eichel is back from a fun All-Star weekend

January 29, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Jack Eichel was the only Sabres representative at the NHL All-Star weekend in Tampa. In the first game Eichel had a goal and two assists, but was held off the score sheet in the second game. Through it all, Eichel had a blast, “It was a good one, it was a new experience and just to be able to be there representing the Sabres was a lot of fun.”

Eichel loved playing the 3-on-3 format, but there was one thing that he really enjoyed from the weekend, “It was nice to just hangout with the guys during the skills competition and get to know some players that you don’t know and spend some time with the league’s best and guys I’ve looked up to my whole life.”

Eichel has known Auston Matthews of the Leafs for a long time. The two played on a line along with Florida’s Aleksander Barkov. Eichel and Matthews looked like they were having a blast and Eichel said, “We’ve played together before, so it was enjoyable, we had some good chemistry.”

Eichel came in third during the fastest skater competition. He lost to Brayden Point and the two-time winner, Connor McDavid. Eichel feels he can do better, “I would’ve liked to do a little bit better and I’m a little bitter about that,” Eichel said with a smile.

“Connor’s a fast skater and there’s a reason that he’s won it two years in a row. I think he has it down pretty well, I think the crossovers are a big part and he’s probably one of the best crossovers in our game and he’s able to build his speed up.

“Maybe if I did a little more homework on the event itself, maybe I would’ve done better, but hey, it was a great experience.”

Eichel was named the NHL’s second star for last week. Robin Lehner was number three and that makes Eichel very happy, “It’s great to see him there. He’s played well for us this year and I don’t think that he’s gotten the type of support and credit for it and I think he’s kept us in a lot of games and he’s even stole some games for us.”

Before the Sabres went out west and won three in a row, they lost at home to Dallas 7-1. The next day was the season’s toughest practice and I wondered if the team needed to hit rock bottom to be able to snap out of it, Eichel said, “I don’t think that it ever has to happen, it shouldn’t take that for us to kick it into gear at all, but maybe that was a pretty big wakeup call and getting embarrassed on your home ice on a Saturday afternoon is never how you’d like to spend your Saturday night, so we were pretty upset about it and rightfully so, we should be..

“I think there was a bit of reflection, so it was nice to go out west and do what we did,”

Nate Beaulieu returned to practice, but when I asked him if he was 100 percent from the concussion he suffered in Calgary the defenseman said, “I’m feeling good, it was a pretty scary incident, but I feel really fortunate with my results, so I’m happy with where I am right now and it’s just a day-to-day process.”