FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A weakness has finally been discovered in Jack Eichel’s game.
The expected No. 2 overall pick and future Buffalo Sabres star joined his NHL Draft brethren for a trip to the Florida Everglades on Thursday. The rookies visited the Everglades Holiday Park, where they toured some wildlife preserves, experienced nature on a boat and got up close with some rather slithery animals.
“There was a snake petting area,” said Lawson Crouse, a left wing from Kingston.
For most of the players, top pick Connor McDavid included, this was awesome. But Eichel had a confession.
“Eichs told us he hates snakes," said Mitchell Marner, a center with the London Knights, "and as soon as he got there of course there’s a big snake sitting there to our right,”
But this was a chance to get over his fears! To do something he had never done before, in the presence of friends and peers!
“So I said, ‘Eichs, get over here,’” said Crouse. “And he ran. In the opposite direction. He was nowhere to be found.”
“He did. It was pretty funny,” confirmed Marner.
Marner was crowned the bravest of the prospects for not only petting the snake but wrapping it around his shoulders.
“When I first put it on, it was kind of scary. Its tongue was out,” he said. "They told me it’s a snake and it won’t bite me so I put it on.”
Marner said he was told the snake was anything but afraid of the people trying to wear her as a scarf. “For her, it’s a normal thing. I was pretty surprised by that,” he said. “I put it on my shoulder. I had never gotten that close to a snake before.”
While Crouse didn’t go that far, he also had moment of bravery, depending on one’s experience with tequila. He ate a worm, on a $100 bet from McDavid:
But perhaps Crouse’s bravest moment of the weekend was when he was at Miami Marlins batting practice, faced with a screaming line drive off the bat of … Eichel.
“He almost killed me,” said Crouse.
So what we learned about Jack Eichel on the eve of the draft: Less afraid of bats than snakes.
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS