BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel hasn't had a sniff of the playoffs since the Sabres took him second overall in the 2015 draft. On a ZOOM call with the Buffalo media Thursday afternoon, Eichel shared his frustrations with the Sabres once again on the outside looking in at the post season.
"Listen, I'm fed up with the losing and I'm fed up and I'm frustrated. It's definitely not an easy pill to swallow right now. Its been a tough couple of months. It's been a tough five years with where things have went. I'm a competitor I want to win every time I go out on the ice. I want to win the Stanley Cup every time I start a season. I've already starting preparing for next season now. I'm already back on the ice. I'm already training, I'm already doing things to better myself for the start of next season, whenever that is. I'd be lying if I said I'm not getting frustrated with where things are going. I think we took a step this year. I will say it's been a pleasure working with Ralph and he does so much for our group every day. There are tough days and he does an amazing job of bringing us back and narrowing our focus and getting us back to where we need to be mentally. The few times I've spoken to him during this quarantine it.s been good. But yeah, I'm definitely not in the greatest place with where the last little bit went and it's definitely worn on me."
The Sabres were left behind when the NHL and NHLPA agreed on a 24 team playoff format for the return to play. The Sabres finished 25th, leaving them out of the post season party for a ninth straight season. Eichel has played 354 regular season games.
The Sabres' captain has gotten better every year and was having the best season of his career when the NHL went on pause March 12. Eichel had 36 goals in 68 games. He wouldn't say what, but he was dealing with some kind of injury in the second half. He said he had some "lingering things" to deal with, but that the pandemic has prevented him from being treated for them.
The fact that some teams will continue to play, and the Sabres won't, also gets under his skin. "In a situation like this, a lot of the teams that are going to continue to play, they probably thought they were going to be out of it. They’re going to gain valuable experience. Now, we’re not one of them. It adds to the frustration. It adds to it a lot."
Eichel wouldn't say what the group needs from the front office to get over the hump but he did say "depth, veterans and toughness would help."
RELATED: Botterill continues to sell future