Huge Crowd Greets Jack Eichel’s Buffalo Sabres Debut

Huge Crowd Greets Jack Eichel’s Buffalo Sabres Debut&h=235&w=320&zc=1

First Connor McDavid was welcomed to Edmonton by a massive crowd to witness his first scrimmage. On Friday, it was Jack Eichel’s turn. The #2 overall pick in the NHL draft and the future of the Buffalo Sabres’ franchise was welcomed by 17,000 fans that jammed the First Niagra Center for his first scrimmage action as a member of arguably the league’s worst team last year. The Blue team led by last year’s #2 pick Sam Reinhart beat Eichel’s Gold Team 5-2.

Eichel’s debut wasn’t quite as flashy as McDavid’s. While Connor McDavid dominated right out of the box scoring a total of 5 goals in his first scrimmage Eichel was held without a point on Friday night. Obviously, the scoring output of either player in their first scrimmage is of little revelance and Eichel was glad to get back to the business of playing hockey: “It was good to get out there and play a game. It’s a tough game to play. I feel like I’ve been bouncing around everywhere lately. I haven’t been able to settle into a groove of training and skating. I haven’t been on the ice as much as I wanted. There were good things; there were things I want to get better. Overall it was a great experience to play in front of the fans and wear that jersey for the first time in a game. It was a great experience.”

The 17,115 fans in attendance set a Buffalo Sabres’ record for the scrimmage and gave Eichel a feel for how hockey crazed the team’s fans are: “It was definitely an unbelievable crowd. It’s crazy to think there were 17,000 people here for a scrimmage in July, but like I said earlier, it says a lot about Buffalo and how passionate they are for the Sabres.”

The biggest impression of the night was left by Reinhart, who spent most of last season in junior hockey. Reinhard scored two goals and had an assist to give notice that the Sabres have amassed some nice talent to go along with Eichel. He was pleased with his showing: “It took a while to start hitting the net. It’s mid-July, and if that’s my biggest problem, I’m pretty happy with that effort. Even when I did hit the net one time, that goalie somehow found it, but [Carrier] put it in the net, so that helped as well.”

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