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Bové: Eichel making case to be next captain

Posted at 10:45 AM, Jan 07, 2017

It's safe to say that Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel wasn't very happy after blowing a late lead against the Chicago Blackhawks earlier in the week -- and that may be putting it lightly.

"I think that's the problem if you're satisfied with three points, that's not good enough," Eichel said on Friday. "We had a chance to get four, we should've got four. For us to sit here and say oh well we played two of the best teams in the league and we got three out of four, well no that's not good enough."

For what it's worth, I love seeing this kind of emotion out of the teams young franchise player. The only way I would have an issue with these comments was if Eichel wasn't producing, but he's currently on a five game point streak with three goals and three assists during that span.

Since returning, Eichel has 14 points (8G, 6A) in 17 games played. So far the Sabres have played 38 games. There was no reason for that last sentence, but kudos if you noticed the Fetty Wap reference. Eichel is on pace to put up 50 points this year, assuming he doesn't miss any more time. If he had played at this pace during an entire 82 game season he'd be on track for 68 points. 

But that's not the only reason fans view Eichel as a leader. In the TV business we call this a sound bite -- have a listen for yourself:

After practice I tweeted that video and immediately the comments started lighting up my feed. 

Caleb said "Give him the C next year. This is clearly his team. Need more with attitude like that."

Thomas added "Can we cut Gionta and slap the C on his jersey already?"

I'm not exaggerating -- between Twitter and Facebook more than a hundred people said that Eichel should be the Sabres next captain. Some even agreed with Thomas, and said the Sabres should just give him the captaincy now.

So will it happen?

No, at least not anytime soon.

Brian Gionta will remain the captain until his time in Buffalo is done --but then things get a little complicated. I've adamantly said that I think Ryan O'Reilly will be the next captain, and the Sabres have hinted at that, too. 

"He's (O'Reilly) a guy that's going to be around a long time, he's a heart and soul kind of guy," Current Sabres Captain Brian Gionta said about O'Reilly during a 'Beyond Blue and Gold' feature produced by the Sabres last year. "He works extremely hard and is a good example for all the guys with the works he puts in and time he puts in. For sure, that's a guy that easily could be a captain one day." 

Foreshadowing much?

But even with all that being said -- I think Eichel is making a strong case to wear the 'C'.

I'm not going to lie -- after scrolling up and down my feed I thought of the movie 'Captain Phillips' and the scene when the pirates storm onto the boat. After a few minutes they finally have the Captain (Tom Hanks) surrounded, when one pirate says "look at me, look at me, I'm the captain now."

If you're failing to visualize the scene, click this link.

But here's the thing -- both O'Reilly and Eichel would be outstanding captains. While I can't say who for sure will wear the 'C', I can confidentially tell you that both will wear a letter, maybe as early as next season.

Personally, I still think the captain will end up being O'Reilly, but only time will tell. Regardless, the Sabres are in a great spot with their young core of players both on the ice and in the locker room.

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