On August 5, 2021, Jack Eichel started a Twitter account.
This wouldn’t be a noteworthy development for most people, but after the season—and even more to the point, the offseason—Eichel had with the Buffalo Sabres, the sudden social media presence was momentous. For his avatar, he chose a photo of himself from the 2020 NHL All-Star Game red carpet. He’s wearing a brown velvet suit that closely resembles the one Kendall Roy took off before performing “L to the OG” in Season 2 of Succession, and sporting a close-cropped haircut that attempts to rein in his trademark fusilli-pasta hair. He looks stoic, focused on something or someone in the distance. None of the fans in the background are looking at him.
For a banner, he picked a photograph from a nondescript seaside vacation. Maybe it’s Croatia. Or Beirut. As the sun sets in the distance, a shirtless Eichel torques his body to behold the beauty.
“#9 ” was the only thing he wrote in his bio.
He followed five accounts—the UFC, the NHL, the PGA Tour, former tennis pro Mardy Fish, and the vocal, league-bucking goaltender Robin Lehner—and tweeted once to confirm that it was indeed him. Then he went silent. Thirteen days passed before anyone heard from him again. But the tweet he produced on August 19 was worth the wait—a venting, exasperated message that encapsulated half a decade of frustration and pain, both literal and figurative: a sad face.