Sabres star Jack Eichel: ‘I don’t feel like I’m making an impact’

Roberto Luongo earned win number 455 to move up to fourth on the NHL goalies all-time wins list. Luongo made 24 saves as the Florida Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1.

Two things hockey fans have been able to count on thus far in the 2017-18 NHL season: the Buffalo Sabres will lose most of their games and Jack Eichel will talk about how he’s unhappy about it.

The Sabres franchise centre hasn’t been shy about voicing his frustrations and did so again Friday night following a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

“I’m frustrated,” Eichel told reporters via John Vogl of Buffalo News. “Yeah, I am. I don’t like my game right now. I’m forcing things. I’m obviously not producing. I don’t feel like I’m making an impact. It’s tough. It’s frustrating, you know?”

Eichel had four goals and 11 points through his first nine games of the season but in the seven games since then hasn’t been able to find the back of the net and only has three assists.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” Eichel said. “I’m trying to pinpoint it, but I’ve got to be better.”

Earlier in the week Eichel said: “I don’t think sitting around and being frustrated and moping about something is really going to do anything about it.”

While Eichel is his own worst critic, his coach thinks he simply needs to make some minor tweaks to his game.

“He cares, and he’s a tremendous competitor but I think he’s got to focus his energy in making the right decisions,” Sabres bench boss Phil Housley said. “I know he puts a tremendous burden on himself. I think he’s got to simplify his game and take what really is given. If you’re going one against two, the good decision is to get it in deep. He means so well that it comes back against him, and now he’s spending his energy going back to the defensive zone and spending the wrong energy down there defending.”

Heading into Saturday’s action, the Sabres were 5-9-2 and in last place in the Eastern Conference. Only the lowly Arizona Coyotes have fewer points than Buffalo.

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