We’ve entered the latest chapter of drama between Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres. It was reported on Thursday that the star failed his physical. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams, in a statement announcing that Eichel has been moved to the injured reserve, said the team has absolute trust in its own doctors.
“Jack Eichel’s health is most important to the organization,” he said. “We were hoping to avoid surgery, but it is needed. Eichel will not accept Sabres’ desire for fusion surgery.”
He also announced that the 24-year-old Eichel is no longer a captain on the team.
“I feel the captain is the heartbeat of your team. I felt that we needed to address that,” Adams said.
The Sabres and Eichel have not been able to agree on how to treat his herniated disk, an injury that has sidelined him for six months. Eichel is looking to have artificial disk replacement surgery, but, because this procedure has never been done on an NHL player, the team wants him to have the disk fused instead.
Teams are able to have the last word on how a player deals with and treats an injury, which is under the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement. Oh course, that doesn’t mean Eichel has to agree to anything. At this point, the team can suspend Eichel, which would only add to this saga.
The Sabres selected Eichel with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. He currently has five years left on an eight-year, $80 million contract.