Jack Eichel felt like Sabres were 'toying' with him over surgery, captaincy

Golden Knights star Jack Eichel spoke on his
Golden Knights star Jack Eichel spoke on his "messy" fallout with the Sabres ahead of his highly-anticipated return to Buffalo. (Getty)

As he prepares to face his former team on Thursday night, Jack Eichel shed some light on his messy split with the Buffalo Sabres.

Eichel was traded by the Sabres to the Vegas Golden Knights this November. The trade came as a result of a herniated disc he suffered last March, one in which he needed surgery to repair. He and the team had what the superstar forward referred to as a “disconnect” last spring, as the two parties had differing opinions on what procedure he should undergo to fix the issue. As a result, the relationship soured to the point it was irreparable.

ESPN sat down with Eichel to discuss his departure from Buffalo, and while he says he holds no bitterness towards the organization, it is clear that he continues to be frustrated by what transpired and how his tenure with the Sabres ended.

“I was frustrated,” Eichel told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “If you think about the reason why you took the captaincy away from me, it was because I didn’t agree with you medically. Then you basically told me not to come around for training camp. At that point, it just felt like they were toying with me. So I was just, I was pretty over it.”

While it remains to be seen, many expect a chorus of boos to rain down on Eichel Thursday from the Sabres faithful. He was asked about the potential of that happening, and said he's hoping fans understand just how bad he wanted to win with the Sabres.

“I think about my time in Buffalo, it obviously ended a little messy,” Eichel said. “But I hope (fans) can look past some of the things that happened maybe in the last year and think about the previous five-and-a-half, six years that I was there, and everything that I tried to do for the community, everything that I feel like I put forth on the ice as a hockey player, and know I just tried to do as much as I could for the city.”

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