BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Commuters on the 190 in Downtown Buffalo were greeted with a new billboard on Monday morning.
The billboard features a Buffalo with blond hair, and reads, "aren't trade requests a pain in the neck?" It includes #FreeJack and "Blueshirts Breakaway" underneath.
"Blueshirts Breakaway is a New York Rangers podcast. Its host Ryan Mead tweeted on Monday morning that the billboard would be in place for two weeks.
Buffalo,— Ryan Mead (@OhRyanMead) August 16, 2021
The time has come.
Starting today for the next two weeks in honor of our 300th episode:
Blueshirts Breakaway has purchased a billboard on I-190 next to the Buffalo Sabres KeyBank Arena demanding an Eichel trade.
We all want this Jack Eichel saga to end.#FreeJack pic.twitter.com/RNVQToorFK
The message is one of several cycling through the billboard at Chicago Street near Scott Street, just a few blocks from the KeyBank Center.
The billboard references Sabres captain Jack Eichel's neck injury, for which treatment has been a point of contention between Eichel and the team. Eichel missed the last 33 games of the season due to the injury, and expressed his unhappiness during end-of-season press conferences in May.
The situation between the two parties appeared to go further downhill through the summer, and by end of July, Eichel's agents had released a statement declaring "the process is not working." The statement was made in response to Sabres GM Kevyn Adam's comments that the team was "in control of the process" when it came to Eichel's time in Buffalo. In the weeks since those comments, both sides have been silent.
7 Eyewitness News sports director Matt Bové lists the Rangers as one of the five teams where Jack Eichel could end up in a trade.
Eichel signed an eight-year, $80 million contract extension with the team in October 2017.