Las Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel made his season debut on Wednesday night, in a 2-0 shutout loss to the Colorado Avalanche. It was his first appearance in an NHL game in almost a year. He had been recovering from surgery on a herniated disk in his neck back in November. After the game, Eichel talked about what it was like being back on the ice.
Jack Eichel has entered the chat. #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/NG1nIjN27b
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 17, 2022
As noted by ESPN NHL reporter Kristen Shilton, “I was having a pretty fun time out there,” said Eichel.
Not only was this Eichel’s first game back from injury, it was his first game with the Golden Knights. He was traded from the Buffalo Sabres in a blockbuster back in November. Eichel and the Sabres were at odds on how to deal with the surgery and which doctors should be doing the surgery. It caused a massive rift, which prompted the trade to Las Vegas.
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“There was a lot of energy in the building, and I thought I fed off that and played pretty well in the first period,” Eichel said. “You don’t want to take two penalties and be on the ice for [a goal], but there’s some things to build on. They’re a really good team, and you get matched up against a pretty good line for part of the game.”
Eichel logged over 17 minutes of ice time, and began the game as the starting center man, playing alongside the top line. Las Vegas sits three points back of Calgary for the Pacific Division lead. As Eichel continues to work his way back into game shape, acquiring Eichel could prove the difference for the Golden Knights in the postseason.