The Buffalo Sabres have been a picture of disorganization since COVID-19 forced the club to be shut down last month, and things got worse for them on Tuesday when it was announced that team captain Jack Eichel would be out of the lineup with an unspecified upper-body injury.
Eichel has battled injuries since the start of training camp and missed time with a lower-body injury last month, but appeared to have suffered an upper-body injury last weekend against the New York Islanders that could keep the Sabres center out for a significant time period.
“Jack went back to Buffalo early, (he’s) still being accessed,” Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger said. “He’ll be out minimum a week, we have an upper-body situation that needs some deeper analysis before we decide further.”
Buffalo has the league’s worst record at 6-14-4 and has lost 12 of their 14 games since resuming play on February 15. The Sabres led Philadelphia 4-2 late in the second period on Tuesday, but surrendered the lead and lost their eighth straight to the Flyers in a shootout.
The uncertain status of Eichel going forward and the club’s recent crash-dive has put Krueger’s status in jeopardy. The veteran bench boss is in year two of a three-year contract and questionable moves such as the benching of winger Jeff Skinner, the lack of development of youngsters such as 2018 top pick Rasmus Dahlin and a lack of organization on the ice is prompting calls for the veteran coach to be fired.
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“(I have) full authority on hockey decisions as the general manager. I’m sure I’ve said this before that decisions aren’t made in a vacuum.” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams said last week. “I certainly talk to Terry and Kim (Pegula) about everything, but I have absolutely full authority to make decisions and part of my role is to evaluate every single part of the organization. You’re focused on the coaches, but everything is being evaluated and needs to get better.”
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that the Sabres are “wide open for business” to shake up the organization, which may include shopping long time Sabres Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart, as well as the expiring contracts of Taylor Hall, Eric Staal and Brandon Montour before the April 12 trade deadline.