It's no secret to us here in Buffalo - Sabres fans love Jack Eichel. That's been pretty obvious from the start, and was put on display yesterday with all the Eichel gifts being given out. If you go to the Sabres Store, there's a table that pretty much serves as a shrine to Eichel.
We've already seen a lot of firsts already for Jack. First NHL game, first goal, first back-to-back. Tonight, we have a first that likely means a bit more to Eichel himself than everyone else. Eichel will play his first game in Boston, his hometown and the place where he spent his historic one-year NCAA career at Boston University.
Kevin Paul Dupont wrote an extensive piece today in the Boston Globe on Eichel's transition to the NHL, the fact that the Sabres have already sold 2,000 jerseys and the emotions that his return to Boston will stir up. In many ways, this is Buffalo's rebuttle to Rob Gronkowski.
It's not just Sabres fans raving about what Eichel could be. Harry Neale, Dean Lombardi and Rick Dudley all have very nice things to say as well.
"I saw Jack up close at the World Championships last spring,'' Lombardi told the Globe. "I thought, ‘Holy smoke, what is this?!'"
Eichel has gone into a bit of a slump lately, which isn't all that unusual for rookies playing far more frequently than they ever have before. It's smart to remember the potential that he does have, and that he's only going to get better from here. Merry late Christmas.