After the trade, Eichel is delighted to be a “hockey player” again with the Golden Knights.

After finally being traded to the Golden Knights, Jack Eichel took to the media, discussing his future – but also how things ended with the Sabers.

For the most part, Eichel stuck to the script. With Sportsnet and ESPN, Eichel kept things pretty civil. He thanked the Golden Knights for allowing him to go for his preferred option of neck surgery (disc replacement instead of fusion). Eichel thanked the City of Buffalo and the Sabers fans for his time with the team.

But every now and then you get a glimpse of the raw, very human feelings involved.

Eichel happy to end the Sabers’ business drama, play for the Golden Knights – and the Olympics?

Some of Eichel’s most animated moments happened in his interview with Elliotte Friedman from Sportsnet. About five minutes into the above video, Eichel said he was not going to go into the Sabers’ opinion on the merger over disc replacement surgery.

The funniest moment, however, came when Eichel could barely contain his excitement about being a “hockey player” with the Golden Knights again. Friedman painted a picture of the Golden Knights pre-game show. Eichel dressing for them and wearing one of those golden helmets.

One interesting idea is that Eichel is hoping to recover from neck surgery in time to play for the U.S. team at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It seems like a bold goal. But maybe Eichel feels the need to make up for lost time.

As Eichel told Friedman and others, he didn’t like the idea of ​​the Sabers after a failed rebuild with another. When Eichel said that to the Sabers’ management, it didn’t go well. Interestingly, Eichel wonders if these feelings carried over to his preference for a profession and the route to go for surgery.

[Eichel trade closes chapter of failed Sabres rebuild]

More than once, Eichel has spoken of the slowness of the trade process. He regrets everything that has happened in the media, and it feels like Twitter trolls and other critics have bothered him at times.

(Oh, Eichel also interestingly thought he could be traded to the Wild. The Avalanche hit him as a possibility as well. Someone reached out to Dr. Strange to explain how those scenarios would have played out.)

In the end, Eichel’s business / surgical process took longer than expected. It’s hard to imagine it not costing Eichel an Olympic appearance – although he hopes to participate. And it is true that the process is not finished. Eichel still needs surgery, and it remains to be seen whether he will recover from it to become the star he was even during the Buffalo lows.

And the Golden Knights will likely have to answer some questions about the salary cap with Brand Pierre, Max Pacioretty, and Eichel all needing to adapt.

All that aside, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t blame Eichel if that light at the end of the tunnel looks like one of those screaming Golden Knights helmets to him.

(Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Also here is Eichel with John Buccigross from ESPN:

James o’brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Catherine J. Martinez