Jack Eichel has never been part of the NHL playoffs, so he doesn’t know what the level of intensity will be like. But on Tuesday night, Jack gets to experience it for himself when he skates onto T-Mobile Arena ice. He has already played in 476 regular-season games!
The Vegas Golden Knights have an advantage in the Western Conference playoffs and their seven-game first-round series will begin soon against the Winnipeg Jets. Coach Bruce Cassidy said that this moment has been anticipated for a long time.
Jack Eichel started playing for the Buffalo Sabres when he was drafted as the 2nd overall pick back in 2015. For his first 5 seasons, he made sure to score at least 24 goals each year until he signed an 8-year contract worth $80 million with them in 2017. Finally, exactly one year later, they named him their team captain!
Jack Eichel’s time with the Buffalo Sabres ended badly after he and the team disagreed about how to treat his neck injury. Jack wanted surgery to fix his herniated disk, something that had never been done before in the NHL, so the Sabres didn’t let him get it.
In September 2021, after Jack Eichel wasn’t able to pass his physical, the Sabres took away his captaincy and then eventually said yes to trading him to the Golden Knights in November. The Golden Knights promised to let him have an operation that he had been wanting.
After two years, the Knights made it to the playoffs and Eichel was number one in points with 66 and second in goals scored with 27. His former team, however, did not make the postseason for 12 straight seasons now – which is the longest out of all NHL teams. Does this mean that Eichel should feel vindicated?
Eichel said that it was a good decision to do what he did. Other players have done the same thing, so people are feeling more confident about it. Eichel is happy to be part of this organization and remembers when they first traded for him. This shows how much respect and freedom the organization gave him to make a decision about his medical situation.
“I’m really proud of that thing, although it seems like a long time ago. So I decided to forget about the past and focus on what I can do now.”
My coach asked me to concentrate more on defensive plays and play less minutes since there are lots of talented teammates around me.
This season, my plus-26 rating was the 2nd best in the team which is way higher than my personal record.
Cassidy said Jack was one of the best players in defence on the team. He gets to closing spots very quickly, and all his stats prove that he takes defence seriously. The thing Jack found most difficult was not having enough minutes – understandable as he wanted more time to play.
The Knights added Eichel to their team because they think he can help them win their first Stanley Cup. However, what he does in the playoffs may be different – he might play for more minutes or we could move some people around. We don’t want that to happen though, because it works better if everyone is doing about the same amount of work.
Jack Eichel wanted to join the Knights hockey team because he didn’t want to just watch other teams play in championships like he did while on the Buffalo team. He said that it’s a great organization to be part of since they always have high expectations and good culture for competing every night and each season.
Mark Stone and Zach Whitecloud, who play on the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team, had a full practice together on Saturday.
Stone injured himself nearly two months ago while playing against Florida and hasn’t been able to join his team since then; he had 17 goals and 38 points up until then.
Whitecloud got hurt on April 8th when his legs collapsed during a game in Texas; at first it seemed really bad but luckily wasn’t as serious as expected.
Cassidy said we don’t know if Stone or Whitecloud will be able to play in the first game of the series.