There were no “We Don’t Want You!” chants from the Garden crowd aimed at Jack Eichel on Tuesday night, the way that Rick Nash was once serenaded when he came to town with the Blue Jackets a week ahead of the 2012 trade deadline.
In fact, there was the occasional if somewhat faint, “We Want Eichel” chant out of the audience, which was 1,800 strong for the Rangers’ match against the Sabres, not that the Blueshirts’ hierarchy was conducting a referendum throughout their 3-2 victory.
Not that anything that transpired in this one, which opened with a bang and then crawled to an extended finish wherein the Blueshirts sent three shots on net over the final 30:28, would alter the dynamic of a possible Eichel megatrade to New York.
Because, yes, the Rangers want him, too.
For a few moments, though, it appeared as if the sight of Eichel, the unhappy 24-year-old center who wants out of Buffalo as he works on a sixth year without a playoff performance since his second-overall selection in the 2015 draft, served as motivation for Mika Zibanejad, whose Rangers tenure would be in serious jeopardy should Eichel make it to Manhattan.