Report: Sabres strip Jack Eichel of captaincy; not cleared to play as surgery unavoidable

When the Buffalo Sabres released their training camp roster it included Jack Eichel. Any questions or doubts he wouldn’t attend were squashed after an AP report confirmed he would attend.

Today, the Sabres have announced that Eichel is not medically cleared to play and surgery is unavoidable.

On top of that, they stripped the 24 year-old of his captaincy.

“I spoke to Jack two days ago, I spoke to the team yesterday and addressed this, Jack Eichel is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres,” GM Kevyn Adams said. “From our perspective, the captain is your heartbeat of your team, and we are in a situation where we felt we needed to make that decision.”

Jack Eichel fails medical

Expectations coming into camp was that he would fail his physical and be sent back home to continue his rehab. Those were met today as Adams announced the news.

Jack Eichel medical
Jan 24, 2020; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) is introduced before the 2020 NHL All Star Game Skills Competition at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

“We were hoping to avoid surgery, but it is needed,” Adams said. “At this point, Jack is not willing to move forward with what our doctors are suggesting, the fusion surgery, so we’re going to continue to work toward solutions.”

Buffalo can now place Eichel on LTIR as they work on a their next move. The possibility of a trade remains, but who is going to give up major assets for a player who failed a physical, needs surgery, and makes $10 million against the cap?

No one, if we are being realistic.

The dispute over neck surgery has been chronicled extensively. Eichel is asking for a surgery that no active NHL player has ever had, although it has been successful in other sports. NFL QB Peyton Manning being the most high-profile of them all.

Over the summer, Eichel with his then representation of Peter Fish met with the Sabres, NHL, and NHLPA to lay out their case. It resulted in a deadlock with the league taking the team’s side and the PA taking Eichel’s. Soon after, he hired super-agent Pat Brisson to take over.

The two sides are continuing to work towards a solution.