Sabres' Eichel is getting better with every game

December 19, 2016 - 1:08 pm
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Jack Eichel has played nine games since returning from a high ankle sprain. Eichel has eight points and the team is 5-2-2 which is a point percentage of .667.
 
I thought Eichel skated as well as I’ve ever seen him skate the past few games. When he first got back the first few games were almost like a preseason. He said he’s getting a good awareness, “In my hands, in your feel for the game, just your understanding of plays.”
 
"I’m just feeling a little more comfortable lately with my ankle. I mean just coming back in the beginning I felt good, but you’re not where you want to be right away, but I think I’ve been starting to feel a lot better in the last few games and been able to use my speed a little more and create more off the rush.”
 
Eichel led all Sabre forwards in ice-time on Saturday. The kid played 21:16 and Dan Bylsma sees that he’s coming along, “Game one and two were pretty spectacular from having been off a long time. You saw some effects of getting back and playing. I think in six through 10, I’ve seen him get a bigger jump and in skating stride.”
 
“He played last game because he was the guy going and skating and been creating for our team when we needed it.”
 
We see Eichel on the ice, but there’s more to Eichel the hockey player. Bylsma said, “What you don’t get to see is his intensity on the bench and he’s right now one of the guys that’s leading on the bench and his words and his demeanor, that’s something he’s been pretty consistent with and he’s trying to go on the ice and do it with his play as well.”
 
In Monday’s practice Eichel centered Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo. The rest of the lines were:
 
Foligno  O’Reilly  Reinhart
Kane  Larsson  Gionta
Girgensons  Grant  Deslauriers  (Carrier)

Defensive Pairs were:
 
McCabe  Ristolainen
Kulikov  Bogosian
Falk  Franson  (Gorges)
 
The team had Sunday off after back-to-back games against the Islanders and Carolina. I wondered if the team was sluggish for practice. Bylsma said, “We had some good flow to the practice, looked good up and down the ice.”
 
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