During the course of a season, and even more so in the offseason, reporters will call on agents to get a scoop off the NHL trade and free agent markets. Agents will use reporters in a similar fashion as they try to influence the NHL trade and free agent markets. Sometimes though, for a myriad of reasons, agents won’t want to play the game and will even ghost a reporter. It happens to the best of us.
Based on his recent column on the Jack Eichel NHL trade market, and how ugly things are getting between the Sabres captain and the team, it’s pretty clear that Eichel’s agents weren’t willing to play the game with Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. There’s no knowing what was said between the two parties but clearly, Harrington had an ax to grind with Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli.
In case you missed it, Fish and Donatelli released a statement on Friday night that called out Sabres GM Kevyn Adams’ handling of Eichel on the NHL trade market and the team’s handling of Eichel’s neck injury.
A statement from the agents of Sabres captain Jack Eichel: pic.twitter.com/9vyY4albk2
— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) July 31, 2021
Whether he felt slighted by Fish and Donatelli and/or is in the back-pocket of the Sabres, Harrington crossed the line and repeatedly insulted Eichel’s agents. He started by referencing a classic John Tortorella rant from back when he coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup.
“Park your ego. Shove it in your pocket,” Tortorella said before delivering his infamous punchline: “Shut your yap.” That would be my message to Eichel’s representatives, Peter Fish and Peter Donatelli. Just zip it.”
He then went on to accuse well-respected Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of being in the pockets of Fish and Donatelli. Friedman recorded a podcast with a doctor who sides with Eichel and his reps on what neck surgery he should have. That was released less than 12 hours after Fish and Donatelli released their statement.
“Maybe the agents were involved, maybe they weren’t. But the optics of it all were so poor that podcast host Elliotte Friedman, one of the most respected media insiders in the game, took to Twitter shortly after the interview was released to clarify that it was done Friday night before the statement was issued and that he had no knowledge the statement was coming.”
I can tell you that Fish and Donatelli have been lukewarm when it comes to providing information on Eichel to Boston Hockey Now but that’s their choice and right. That doesn’t mean that my BHN colleague Joe Haggerty or me are going to write a complete smear job of them or any other agents we couldn’t pry info from. Harrington is a well-respected veteran reporter that I think does a pretty good job of covering the disaster that is Buffalo Sabres. However, in this instance, he acted anything but professionally.
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