The report of Jack Eichel saying he has no desire to sign an extension with the Sabres if Dan Bylsma remains coach is “ridiculous,” Eichel’s agent told The Buffalo News.
“I don’t know where anyone is getting these reports, but they are ridiculous in a word,” Peter Fish said by phone Wednesday. “Jack, he left Buffalo, he thought he had a real good meeting with coach Bylsma and a real good meeting with” General Manager Tim “Murray. When he got home to Boston, he was genuinely excited with the thoughts that maybe they’re just a few players away from getting into the playoffs.
“We hope to be having talks with Tim Murray when the time is right here, and like I said before, he’d like nothing better than to bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo because it’s a great city. They’re a passionate fan base. A lot of fans are a lot like Jack in the way he grew up in his family. So I just don’t know where this is coming from, and quite frankly it’s someone who’s got an ax to grind for some reason who doesn’t know him and doesn’t understand him.”
Eichel was clearly frustrated as he wrapped up the Sabres’ season last week, and Fish said the anger simply had to do with losing.
“His frustration level, absolutely off the charts,” Fish said. “He’s a competitive kid. He hates to lose. I don’t know if people know that about him. He does not like to lose. Sometimes his frustration in a game, he’s not happy they’re not winning. That’s just the bottom line.
“He’s a 20-year-old kid who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. He wants to bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. He wants to produce. He wants to do all these things. He wants to help his teammates get better, and Jack himself get better. He wants to do all these things and, yeah, at the end of the year, they didn’t make the playoffs. So in his press conference he was frustrated.
“I don’t blame him. I’m frustrated for him. I think a lot of these reports are based off just speculation by looking at Jack in a press conference, which is ridiculous. He’s a 20-year-old kid. I’ve read some of these things and I’m sick to my stomach, quite frankly.”
Eichel has been in the spotlight since before his freshman year at Boston University, and it’s increased during his first two years as the face of the Sabres.
“I was a 20-year-old at Boston University,” Fish said. “If I had even half of Jack’s maturity at the same time, I would have been a much better person. It’s unbelievable how he handles kids, for example, going to the cancer hospital.
“Whenever he’s out, people always come up, ‘Jack this, Jack that.’ It’s constant, and Jack’s always there for the kids. I always judge a person’s character by how they treat kids, and Jack is off the charts. I just think this whole situation is very misunderstood. I know he’s hurt by it. This is not what he believes or has said or anything.”
Murray is meeting with owner Terry Pegula on Wednesday, and Bylsma’s job status is in question. WGR-AM 550 reported earlier Wednesday that Eichel had “no desire” to sign an extension if Bylsma remained.