If it wasn’t already clear, the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel are on opposite sides of the situation when it comes to... well, pretty much everything. That became all the more evident late Friday evening, when Eichel’s agents - Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli - released a statement.
Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News posted the statement on Twitter. Just in case you’re reading this via screenreader or can’t access the Twitter image, here’s the text of the statement:
The process is not working. As previously stated, we fully anticipated a trade by the start of the NHL free agency period. After the agreed upon and prescribed period for conservative rehabilitation lapsed in early June 2021, it was determined by the Sabres medical staff that a surgical procedure was required. The recommendation by Jack’s independent neurosurgeon, other spine specialists consulted, and the surgery Jack feels most comfortable having in order to correct a herniated disc in his neck is to proceed with Artificial Disc Replacement surgery. A further point of concern is that our camp was initially under the impression that the Sabres specialist was in agreement with the Artificial Disc Replacement surgery until that was no longer the case.
The statement continues:
What is being left out of the discussion is that Jack would be able to play in the NHL for the start of the season pending medical clearance if he were allowed to have the surgery he desires even as of this date. Repeated requests have been made to the Sabres since early June to no avail. This process is stopping Jack from playing in the NHL and it is not working. — Peter Fish & Peter Donatelli
While dropping this statement at 9:45 p.m. on a Friday is a little bit of a swing out of left field (pardon me for mixing my sports metaphors), it’s a strong hit back against the Sabres a few days after general manager Kevyn Adams stressed that the team feels it is in control of the situation. The statement also makes clear to other NHL teams that if Eichel is traded and gets the surgery he wants, he can still be ready & in game shape when the season begins.
So.... what happens now? Where do we possibly go from this? This situation, this drama, seems to be growing tenfold by the day now, and it doesn’t exactly paint either side in a shining light. It’s clear that something’s got to give — and very soon.