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Morning Skate: Apparently the Sabres can still thrive without Jack Eichel

Who knew?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.


Before we hop into the news info dump, I wanted to throw a shout-out to departing Raw Charge editor-in-chief John Fontana.

John stepped away from the blog yesterday, wrapping up an astounding 12(!!!) years at the helm of one of our original SB Nation hockey blogs. A ton of writers, managers and editors across the network have come and gone since then, but John was always there and happy to help out and advise when we needed it.

He’ll be missed. Make sure you drop in to Raw Charge today and let him know that, as well as wish new editor Achariya and her new staff luck!


The Sabres beat up on the Oilers last night, which could mean one of two things (or maybe both!):

  • They’re going to be just fine without Jack Eichel.
  • They’re going to be just fine without Eichel as long as they play the Oilers.

Without diminishing Eichel’s greatness, let’s go ahead and praise the new-look Sabres. In Eichel’s absence, Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson have stepped up smoothly into playmaking roles. Larsson terrorized the Oilers with creative zone entries on Sunday, and Eichel fed Kyle Okposo his first Sabres goal with a pretty pass in front of the net. And that’s not even mentioning Ryan O’Reilly’s four-point night.

A year ago, losing Jack Eichel for months would’ve meant months of offensive struggles. Now it appears the Sabres have depth up front to not only cope with his loss, but compete on most nights.