Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Things boiled over in the locker room after the loss to Vancouver. Kyle Okposo was very angry saying that they spent a lot of time in the morning talking about how they must play in the second period and they did the exact opposite. He called the second period effort, “gross”. Robin Lehner said the way they play is disrespectful to the coaches and disrespectful to the game. Jack Eichel was one of the players that took part in Monday’s optional skate. He said, “We’ve got to stop blaming each other or blaming whatever we’re blaming it on and just come to the rink every day and enjoy the fact that we play in the NHL.”
Eichel is very hard on himself after losses and is one of the few that shows anger and emotion after bad games. He said, “For me I’m more than past getting worked up about it, I mean I’m not going to change last night’s outcome with my attitude today, so there’s nothing I can do except come to the rink today and try to get better at the things I need to get better at and bring a positive attitude.”
“If you aren’t happy with where you are, change it and make a difference.”
As I try to figure out what’s wrong with this team I sometimes wonder if they’re afraid to make a mistake because they’ll get yelled at. Eichel said, “To be honest with you no I’m not. Maybe that’s one of the downfalls, even looking at a game like Toronto, we get up 3-0 and it seems like we just sit back and we’re almost afraid to push against them and try to score the fourth goal. We’re too nervous to play in the offensive zone and make passes and we’re just sitting back and letting them come at us.”
Eichel is only 20, but he knows what is expected from him and he has no problem with that, “For me whether it’s minute one or minute 60, I’m going to play the same exact way.” Eichel added, “We’re all in the NHL for a reason and we all built our identity at a younger age and we’re here because we do something very well, so whatever that is, we try to bring it to the rink every day.”
“I’m a guy that needs to produce, I need to play a 200 foot game and I need to make a difference for this team, whether it’s in the defensive zone or setting somebody up to score a goal, that’s what I’m looked at for. I’m a creative player, I take risks to try to make plays and that’s how I’ve always been, but there are areas of my game I need to clean up. I need to get better in my own zone, I have to be more responsible.”
Eichel is never satisfied unless he’s the best. He strives for that in his play and takes a back seat to no one. Eichel said, “I can’t look at somebody else to try to make themselves better if I’m not trying to make myself better.”
A win over Vancouver would’ve pulled the Sabres to within three points of a playoff spot. That’s amazing since they went 0-2 against a team like Vancouver and never could beat Boston or Carolina. A team they have had success against is next on Tuesday in Ottawa.