Sabres strip Jack Eichel of captaincy after failed physical

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·Hockey writer
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The drama between the Sabres and Jack Eichel has reached a new level. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY)
The drama between the Sabres and Jack Eichel has reached a new level. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY)

The Jack Eichel saga is never going to end.

As teams around the NHL make their way into their respective training camps, the Buffalo Sabres still employ the disgruntled star center, even after a summer where a blockbuster trade felt imminent and necessary.

The main reason Eichel wants out of Buffalo — aside from the obvious reasons — is a disagreement on potential treatment for his neck injury. The team wants a fusion surgery, but the 24-year-old forward and his representatives have sought out second opinions that recommend an alternative: artificial disc replacement.

This conflict has extended his time as a Sabre, but he won’t be starting this season on the ice after landing on injured reserve.

Eichel will not just be starting the season away from the rink, but his jersey has gotten slightly lighter compared to previous seasons after losing the "C."

As Sabres GM Kevyn Adams makes clear, Eichel is not long for Buffalo and he wants his captain to be the “heartbeat of the team,” which is slightly more difficult when the incumbent desperately wants to get away from the organization.

Who knows when or how this is going to get settled, but with a significant contract — $10-million AAV for the next five seasons — the logistics of a trade become even more complicated.

Through 89 games over his last two seasons, Eichel has scored 38 goals and 96 points, so one can see why he wants to get away from this seemingly forever-rebuilding franchise.

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