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"It's definitely tough to hear", teammates react to Eichel, other veterans' unhappiness

Devils Sabres Hockey
Posted at 6:23 PM, May 11, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Monday, Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel used the words "disconnect" and "unhappiness" when talking about how things have been handled since he suffered his season-ending injury in March.

He wasn't the only one who hasn't been happy these last few months as teammates Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen also used the words "unhappy" and wouldn't commit to being Buffalo Sabres next season.

The younger guys on the team say that's not something you want to hear from any player.

"I'm friends with them and I've enjoyed my time playing with them for sure," center Casey Mittelstadt said about the words spoken on Monday from some of the team's veterans. "I have nothing but good things to say about them. Like I said, it's out of my control but it's definitely tough to hear."

"I don't know what's being said," added defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. "So I don't have any comments on that. Sorry."

Eichel, especially, was pretty vocal when questioned by reporters on Monday following another disappointing season. Sitting out the last 33 games of the season, Eichel hasn't been around his team as often as he'd like, but the impact he's had on his younger teammates has been big.

"You see how hard he works and you see how hard he battles," Mittelstadt said. "He just leads by example and it gives all the players on the bench a pump up. You know if he can do it, you can do it too."

Forward Tage Thompson got the chance to play alongside Eichel on a line several times this season and couldn't say enough about what he's learned from the six-year pro.

"He's so offensively gifted, you pick up things just playing with him like where he likes to go with the puck and certain plays," he said. "I think when you play with him, even in practice, trying to keep up with his pace - he's so fast - I think just makes you a better player."