NHL

Vegas Knights Jack Eichel scores hat trick against Buffalo

Vegas Knights Jack Eichel scores hat trick against Buffalo

hat trick!

hat trick!
image: Getty Images

Not that the relationship between Jack Eichel and Buffalo Sabers fans is ever good. Their union promised too much and delivered so little that there should be bitterness on both sides. The second pick the Sabers traded up for didn’t deliver them from the wilderness they’ve been stuck in for more than a decade. The Sabers couldn’t get to the level Eichel sees himself to be, and then they fought over how he wanted to treat his own body. Still, Eichel’s beef is with the organization, not the fans who pinned their hopes on the promise he failed to deliver for the team or the team failed to deliver on him. despite this you want to express it

The other thing, the most important thing, is that demanding a trade and getting it means you’re supposed to have moved on to bigger and better things. You are supposed to be playing a different game now. You’re on a contender, the one you always wanted, the one you decreed the original team you were on could never be. You’re supposed to be above all that, and that’s exactly why a player would demand a trade in the first place.

So yes, Eichel can score a hat trick in his second return to Buffalo. He can soak in the taunts and bait them later. He may be happy with that. Except it’s probably his pinnacle of NHL success. It’s all he has. It’s the closest Eichel has come to a “big” performance in the NHL.

Because it’s important to remember that last April, when the Cavaliers really needed him to make the playoffs, when they needed him to pick up the rest of the team while their other stars were injured, when they needed him to be THE PIO that the Sabers recruited to be and the Knights changed, spat out a ball of hair the size of a watermelon. Two points in seven games, all critical to enter the postseason. He got his lunch delivered to him by the likes of Nic Dowd. Last spring was the first time Eichel played in the postseason with anything on the line. He inserted his thumb directly to his ass

So yes, he can rub Sabers fans’ noses in it, with his hat trick in early November. They make Hall of Fame cases about what you do the second week of November, right? Maybe he thinks he’s stuck something on someone, for the first time.

But what most Sabers fans know is that Eichel needed it more than they did. This must represent achievement. It has to make it a bigger deal than it is. There is nothing else to put on his mantle. That’s why it has to soak in so much, because there’s a void to fill.

Oh, it can change. The Cavaliers look back at their prime. Eichel played well. The rest of the division just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Eichel could make the playoffs for the first time. Maybe there it will come to life. This is all possible in the near future.

But now? He should be rejoicing in kicking a Sabers fan base that is still low, even with the promise of this team. He has no choice, because he has nothing else. It is the closest to aa the true success it has. And deep down, he knows he’s just as responsible as anyone else. He must be a sore victor, still eager to brag when everyone else has passed. High school is over, Jack. You’re supposed to have grown-up issues now.



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