Jack EichelIs back in action
His request was granted by the center. VegasOn Wednesday night, debut in a 2-0 Golden Knights' lossThe Colorado Avalanche. After undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck in November, Eichel was playing in Eichel's first NHL match in almost a year.
He finished with minus-one, one goal and 8 for 11 in face-offs through 17:32 ice-time.
Eichel's initial effort saw a lot of pomp and circumstance. The atmosphere was electric around Eichel, the newest home-team star, and Eichel was selected to play the opening game as the Golden Knights’ top-line center, facing the NHL's top Colorado team.
Vegas suffered its second consecutive defeat, and the Avalanche netminder. Darcy KuemperWith a 29-save performance, he stole the show.
Eichel felt the love even though the outcome was not what he expected.
He said, “There was a lot energy in the building and I thought that I fed off it and played pretty well during the first period.” “You don't want two penalties and to be on the ice. [a goal]There are some things you can improve on. They're a good team and you are matched up against some very strong lines for a part of the match. Good to be back doing what? First game in 11 month. [you're doing].”
Since March 7, 2021 when he was still at the club, the 25-year old hadn't been able to play. Buffalo SabresDuring an on-ice collision, he sustained a neck injury.
Eichel was not surprised to see a little rust after the long wait. It didn't diminish the joy of being out on the field.
He said, “Honestly, it was a great time.” He said, “I believe there's some things to build on. But it's a process. It's going to get better. It wasn't what I expected. There is much to do and great things to be done.”
Peter DeBoer, Vegas' coach, agreed that the team only saw a portion of what Eichel would eventually be able offer.
DeBoer said, “I think he worked hard.”[After]11 months away, jump in the middle of season against arguably [NHL's]It is a huge task to find the best team. He did a very good job. We were able to see glimpses of his potential. He did some great things, made some good plays for people. It's a wonderful first step.
Eichel had a difficult road to get back to competitive play. Eichel was Buffalo’s captain when he was hurt. In 2015, the team was second in the draft. Eichel was currently in the middle an eight-year, $80million contract he signed in 2018.
However, the disk issue would eventually cause a rift between Eichel and Sabres, which would change the course of their relationship. Buffalo announced in April 2021 that Eichel would be out for the rest of the season due to injury. They wanted to get him rehab and rest.
Eichel voiced his disappointment at the treatment plan in May. Eichel, 25, wanted to undergo surgery to fix the problem. But the disk replacement procedure Eichel asked for was never performed on an NHL player. He was refused permission by the Sabres.
Eichel: “I have been feeling a little upset at the way things were handled since my injuries.” told reporters last May. “I would be lying if I said that things have been smooth since my injury. There has been some disconnect between me and the organization. It's been hard at times.”
Eichel said that “I have a lot more thinking to do in the offseason.” There are many things I need to think about… Right now, for me, the most important thing to do is to stay healthy and find a way to be available to hockey next year, wherever that may be.
Eichel and Sabres had become even more apart by September. Buffalo stripped Eichel off his captaincy after he failed a training camp medical.
General Manager Kevyn AdamsHowever, Eichel could be traded if there were the right circumstances. They came to pass on November 4, when Eichel traded to Vegas for a cash payment. Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a pick in the first round and a pick in the second round.
Eichel received his disc replacement surgery at Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic Denver one week later. He has been recovering eversince. The result of many long nights and worry filled nights, Eichel's Wednesday return was a result of all the worrying and wondering about the future.
Eichel and the Golden Knights will be back in action against Los Angeles on Friday.