The Bird Chirps on Eichel
By Kevin Sylvester, Buffalo Sports Page
On the latest edition of the BSP radio on WECK (1230 AM Saturdays from 10-noon), I mentioned in passing going to break that a little bird told me the Eichel contract might be done, and they are just waiting to announce it. I thought it was a good nugget to drop in, and shame on me for failing to realize the magnitude of those words. I soon realized the gravity of my statement, when twitter went nuts. Fans are ready for this news, and want it confirmed now.
I cannot confirm it at this point, but here’s what I can tell you. The “bird” has been right several times before, and how this information was presented was plausible enough to mention on the show. Sabres GM Jason Botterill has mentioned recently that both sides have spoken, and it’s been positive. Getting a deal done isn’t far fetched at all. Eichel’s next contract will fit between the contract Edmonton gave Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. A hard negotiation is not in order.
— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) August 22, 2017
If the deal is indeed done, why are they waiting to announce it? That answer is pretty simple. In today’s world, execution of contracts are orchestrated with team media opportunities. It will be tweeted when he signs complete with photos and video. It will be big deal in many ways. The Sabres are also owned by the owner of the Bills, and there is no more competition to grab the headlines. Believe me, these things get planned in conjunction with each franchise now.
Many fans are hoping/expecting Jack Eichel to be named captain with a new contract extension. That notion makes total sense, and is the right move. However, I’m not sure having a new coach (Phil Housley) naming Eichel the captain before training camp is the best move. That would seem to go against the hockey traditions. Plus it gives the team the opportunity to grab more headlines at the end of training camp, before the start of the regular season.