By Conor Thompson
The relationship between Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres has reached a point that many NHL analysts believe is beyond repair. It was clearly visible to see Jack Eichel’s frustration with the Sabres during the locker clean out press conference after the Sabres disastrous season concluded. But who can blame Jack for being frustrated? Since he was drafted 2nd overall in the 2015 NHL draft, the biggest accomplishments the Sabres have achieved was winning the draft lottery. Not only was Eichel frustrated with the direction the Sabres were going in, he was also frustrated with a neck injury that cut his season short.
Eichel was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck this past season and he is not expected to be ready for the Sabres by opening night. Eichel and his team wish to have an artificial disc inserted in his neck while Sabres management wants Eichel to receive physical therapy and rest. The argument from the Sabres is that the surgery Eichel is seeking has never been done on an NHL player before, and they won’t approve of their franchise player being the first player to receive such surgery.
Eichel’s team however states the artificial disc surgery is a no brainer. They have met with different doctors who said surgery is the best route for Eichel. But the biggest problem for Eichel having the surgery is in the NHLs CBA. The agreement states that a player under contract cannot have a surgery unless the surgery is approved by their current team. Eichel recently fired his management team and hired Pat Brisson. Brisson is known as the Scott Boras of hockey agents, who represents many of the top players in the league. With an agent representing Eichel who has a reputation to get things done, there is a better chance for Eichel to have the surgery he desires.
Both parties have strong reasons for the stance they’re taking in this debate. But with technology constantly improving in the medical field, many are siding with Eichel believing if doctors approve of the surgery, then surgery is the right route. Would love to hear what Buffaloian’s think over this debate and their opinions on Eichel’s tenure as a Sabre.