Eichel stripped of captaincy after failing physical

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel failed his physical and has been stripped of his captaincy, general manager Kevyn Adams announced Thursday.

"From our perspective, the captain is your heartbeat of your team, and we are in a situation where we felt we needed to make that decision," Adams said.

In the latest installment of the surgery standoff between Eichel and the club, the 24-year-old isn't willing to move forward with the Sabres' recommendation to repair the herniated disc in his neck. The Sabres prefer Eichel to undergo fusion surgery, while the center wants to replace the disc.

Adams said the Sabres are still seeking a solution and haven't wavered in denying permission for the procedure Eichel wants, according to The Athletic's John Vogl.

Eichel is currently on the injured reserve. Adams noted the team was hoping to avoid surgery.

Buffalo head coach Don Granato expressed sympathy for the injured forward.

"This is tough for Jack. What I think is lost in this is this is a guy that wants to play hockey that's going through an injury. I have a lot of compassion for that," Granato said, according to Vogl.

"I just want to see him get healthy and eventually play," he continued.

As for the next steps, Adams reiterated that he sees trade value in his former captain, and the executive is basing that on a healthy Eichel.

Adams said he spoke to Eichel and the team to inform them of the captaincy decision earlier this week. The Sabres won't name another captain for this season, according to NHL.com's Heather Engel.

The 24-year-old was limited to just 21 games in 2020-21. He hasn't played since March 7. The Sabres' second overall pick in 2015 has registered 355 points over 375 contests.

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Eichel stripped of captaincy after failing physical
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