Las Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel made his season debut Wednesday night on a 2-0 shutout against the Colorado Avalanche. It was his first appearance in an NHL game in nearly a year. He was recovering from surgery on a herniated disc in his neck in November. After the game, Eichel talked about what it was like to be back on the ice.
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As the ESPN NHL reporter noted Kristen Shilton“I was having a great time there,” Eichel said.
Not only was this Eichel’s first game after injury, it was also his first game with the Golden Knights. He was traded from the Buffalo Sabers during a November blockbuster. Eichel and the Sabers were at odds over how to handle the operation and which doctors should perform the operation. This caused a massive breakup, which prompted the trade in Las Vegas.
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“There was a lot of energy in the building, and I think I fed off that and played pretty well in the first half,” Eichel said. “You don’t want to take two penalties and be on the ice for [a goal], but there are things to build on. They’re a very good team and you’re up against a very good line for part of the game.
Eichel logged over 17 minutes of ice time and started the game as a starting center, playing alongside the first line. Las Vegas is three points behind Calgary for the Pacific Division lead. As Eichel continues to get back into shape, acquiring Eichel could prove the difference for the Golden Knights in the playoffs.