Golden Knights’ Jack Eichel on Sabers: ‘Just a bunch of drama you really don’t want to deal with’


It’s been a long road for Jack Eichel, but there is finally a resolution. On Thursday he was traded to the Golden Knights on a three-player multiple-choice contract that not only saw him change his jersey, but will also allow him to undergo the surgery he needs.

“Since I got injured, it’s happened, I don’t know, it just seems like things haven’t turned out the way I wanted, and that’s okay,” Eichel told ESPN’s “The Point” host John Buccigross. “People deal with adversity and this is no different. It’s just, it’s definitely been a long process, a little long … and just a lot of drama that you really don’t want to deal with. But I guess just learning and I’m happy to be on the other side. “

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Eichel was diagnosed with a herniated disc after hitting his head on the boards against the islanders on March 7. According to the Mayo Clinic, a hernia occurs when one of the rubber pads (the disc) in the spine ruptures or tears and the nucleus pushes out. The herniated disc can then impact nearby nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in one arm.

After the neck injury failed to respond to conservative measures, Eichel and his team opted for surgery; Thus began a months-long exchange with the Sabers on what procedure to follow. The preferred treatment of the Sabers was anterior cervical discectomy, which generally involves impacted disc removal and fusion (ACDF) by placing a bone graft where the disc was. The surgery that Eichel wants, reiterating on the show that he did the research and is superior in his case, is artificial disc replacement (ADR). It does not involve fusion and instead an artificial disc is placed between the two cervical vertebrae. While ACDF is more common and, according to, the “gold standard,” studies show that artificial disc replacement surgery provides more mobility. However, it has not been done before on an NHL player.

The issue at hand was, under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, that teams have the final say on the treatment of injuries.

“He will have surgery. He will have the ADR, which is an artificial disc replacement,” Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said when speaking to the media. “He’s unique in relation to NHL players; he’s not necessarily that unique in terms of society.”

McCrimmon later added, “Why wouldn’t his people want the best for him? None of us in this room have the level of experience that would be required for an opinion. I quote the people to whom he has entrusted himself. and your health, to make that decision. “

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Eichel, who was selected second overall by the Sabers in 2015 and scored 355 points in 375 career games, is now heading west from the only organization he knows. Buccigross asked him if, if he had been allowed to perform the procedure he wanted, he would still be a Saber.

“I’m not sure about that. I had expressed to them that I wanted to have this operation last spring and they weren’t comfortable with it,” he said, pointing out some details about when and where the surgery will be done. being ironed. “I understand that there is no NHL player that has done it, but, you know, with that said, I feel like it’s the best opportunity for me and I really appreciate that the Vegas Golden Knights organization has given me the opportunity to move forward with it. what do I want”. do and go back to playing hockey and do what I love. “

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The most important question now is the calendar. When can Eichel really get dressed and play for Las Vegas … or maybe for Team USA?

“I would love to play in the Olympics for sure. It’s a goal of mine. I think it’s a goal of all players. Having said that, I think you have to start with some short-term goals first. I just want to have surgery and Put that behind us. Most of the trades, it’s about a three-month recovery, so that’s what I’m seeing now. “

Well, roughly three months from now, the United States will hit the ice in Beijing.


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