Jack Eichel was among a contingent of NHL players that were hurt or sick heading into the 2016/17 NHL season. For example, Carey Price missed the start of the season with the flu, Sidney Crosby missed the start of the season as he was following concussion protocol, and Patrice Bergeron missed the start of the season with injury. However, those three players have since made their debuts while Buffalo's Eichel still remains sidelined with an injury.

Dan Bylsma's remains ambiguous on Eichel

Dan Bylsma, the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, issued a statement on Eichel's injury shortly after it happened back on October 12th.

"Jack Eichel does have a moderate high ankle sprain," Bylsma claimed just less than a month ago. "It's certainly more weeks than days at this point" he stated back then. There was no comment on exactly how many "weeks" we were looking at with two being the minimum I concluded based on the plural usage.

A "sprain," when contrasted to something being broken, doesn't sound like a serious injury. However, it has now been four weeks since Jack Eichel suffered his setback and Bylsma is talking with the media again, an update that I think is about two weeks overdue.

Joe Yerdon, a writer at NHL.com, quoted the head coach in a Wednesday article: "I don't want to suggest that it's going to be today, tomorrow or the next day that he's getting on the ice," Bylsma said.

"He's progressing quite nicely. He's been working out at another level the last four or five days and hopefully he continues to progress to getting to the ice soon." The ambiguous word back in October was "weeks" and now the ambiguous word is "soon" with the word "hopefully" interjected to avoid any kind of straight-up answer.

I find the 'update' takes me in opposing directions, both hinting at a timely return and still covering scenarios where he takes much longer to debut this season. At any rate, Buffalo do need some help, however it should be stated that things could be worse for the Sabres following an Eichel-less start.

Buffalo Sabres haven't been terrible

The Sabres are currently 5-5-2, which really isn't that bad of a record for a team missing its star. After all, not that much was expected out of Buffalo this season even before Eichel injured himself just ahead of the season's start. The Sabres really aren't buried all that deep in the standings with games coming up Wednesday (vs. Ottawa), Friday (vs. New Jersey), and Saturday (@ New Jersey). It could be that the Sabres really don't know if their star will play in the latter games or not, hence the need for them to keep their comments as hints more than blatant statements.

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