BUFFALO – A day after the reeling Sabres’ sixth loss in seven games, an embarrassing 3-1 setback in Boston that made Jack Eichel lose his cool, the second-year center was still ticked off.
“As a whole team, everyone needs to look in the mirror and we all need to get a lot better,” Eichel said this afternoon following practice inside KeyBank Center.
Saturday afternoon’s loss to the Bruins felt more like a 6-0 defeat than a two-goal game. Following the tilt, Eichel reportedly erupted, throwing his equipment and cursing before storming out of the dressing room.
The incident, Eichel said, “was a little bit blown out of proportion.”
Still, the Sabres’ struggles clearly have left Eichel seething. What needs to change for the last-place Sabres?
“Everything,” Eichel said bluntly. “Power play, I mean, we have a five-on-three, we don’t score. It’s not good enough. Penalty kill, we continue to put pucks on the other teams’ stick on the kill. Five-on-five, we don’t score enough goals, either.”
Eichel said his frustration level is “probably pretty high.”
“We have one win in our last (seven), so I think as a team we shouldn’t be happy about where we’re at,” he said.
The Sabres are 16th in the 16-team Eastern Conference, just 13-15-8. At this point, the playoffs look highly unlikely.
“I’m sure not giving up on this, and I don’t think anyone else is,” Eichel said. “Have we pissed away some good opportunities for ourselves to put ourselves in a good position? Yes. It’s still a lot of hockey to be played.”
Check back later on more from Eichel.
In other news, the Sabres center Johan Larsson stayed in a Boston hospital dealing with the dislocated left wrist and dislocated elbow he suffered early after Adam McQuaid hit him. Larsson is out weeks.
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma mentioned the elbow for the first time today.
“Real big loss,”Bylsma said. “He’s quietly and not so quietly become … a tough guy to play against. He battles hard every night for us, and he’s been a leader in really having that grit and determination in our game. You felt it even in the game (Saturday).”
Meanwhile, winger William Carrier practiced today after missing Saturday’s game with a left hand injury. Carrier aggravated the injury in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Boston fighting McQuaid, who wanted payback for the rookie’s hit on David Backes.
“Fighting is probably not best for the hand,” said Carrier, who could return Tuesday against the New York Rangers.
Carrier wasn’t reprimanded for the hit, which concussed Backes.
“I looked at it a few times,” Carrier said. “I was just trying to finish my hit. I think he kind of turned while I was finishing my hit. I played with him in St. Louis (training camp), too, so I know the guy. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t want to injure him. I know he had a few (concussions) in the past, too, so I feel kind of badly for him.”
Carrier said a cross check injured his hand a few weeks ago.
In other injury news, defenseman Josh Gorges, who left Saturday’s game with a hip pointer, missed today’s practice. Bylsma said Gorges feels better.
Bylsma said goalie Robin Lehner had a maintenance day today.