Sabres GM Kevyn Adams addresses treatment on Jack Eichel’s neck injury


Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Kevyn Adams did not waste time addressing Jack Eichel’s comments from Monday saying there is a “disconnect” with the organization on how to treat the herniated disk in his neck.

“We all want the same thing here when it comes to Jack Eichel. We want Jack Eichel to be healthy, to be able to play at the top of his game, to be one of the best players in the world like he’s proven he is,” Adams said during his season-ending zoom call on Wednesday.

Eichel expressed his frustration with the organization on how to move forward with his neck injury.

“What was agreed upon by the doctors, the experts was conservative rehab approach,” Adams explained.

Adams continued to outline the timeline they’re working with right now:

“And all of the doctors involved agreed on a conservative approach so what we were discussing and what was mentioned to me and those of us in the organization that were involved was that typically in this situation and in their experience there’s a high probability that through a conservative rehab approach you are able to avoid surgery and you are able to come back and perform at the top of your game.”

“And that is what everybody agreed upon and that’s the hopes that we all still have. We’re still in that window, what was discussed is that kind of a 12 week mark which takes us to the end of May, early June time frame and that’s where we still are at. So still currently in that conservative rehab process,” Adams said.

Where the disagreement between the organization and Jack Eichel comes in is when it comes to surgery. The team does not want him to because the surgery Eichel would like to have has never been done on an NHL player.

“It’s been discussed from Jack’s camp about potentially having a surgery that’s never been done on a National Hockey League player before, our doctors aren’t comfortable with that but I think we all are in a position where we want the same thing and hope that when we re-image this in the timeline that I laid out Jack will have made steps and strides,” Adams said.

Adams would not say if that decision by the team not wanting him to have this surgery will change just that they will reevaluate where things stand at the end of the “12 week window” of the conservative rehab which should end in early June.

“It’s never been performed on an NHL hockey player and I think you could all appreciate that whether if it was anyone in any job but certainly a professional athlete there’s gonna be hesitation if there’s not data to support something like that on a comfort level. And our doctors like I said, just they’re not there,” Adams said.

While it is Eichel’s body, he reiterated that it’s not his choice when it comes to making a decision like this.

“It doesn’t work like that, I wish. Obviously I’m under contract with this team and they definitely hold a lot of cards on what I can and can’t do,” Eichel said on Monday.

“As a player I would make sure that I was listening to the doctors because whether I was a player or in my current role I don’t read MRIs, I listen to the experts and I think that’s very important for everyone to understand. These are highly regarded medical professionals that all agree on the same thing that conservative care is the proper step of where we needed to go and we’re currently in,” Adams said.

Adams also said Eichel has not requested a trade regardless of the rest of his comments regarding his future.

“I think I have a lot of thinking to do in this offseason, I think that there’s a lot that I have to consider,” Eichel said on Monday.

And he wasn’t the only veteran player to hint that they might not be here next season. Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen are the other two big names that could be dealt soon.

Ristolainen said he’s open to all scenarios even if that means being traded while Reinhart did not have an answer when it comes to becoming a restricted free agent and what the future holds for him.

“We are going to get this right with the people that want to be here,” Adams said.

And it seems like that could happen without a core group of veteran players which will force the Sabres to lean on the young guns that will have to step up.

It’s hard to imagine all three of those guys will be back with the Sabres next season.

“We have to be willing as an organization to look at any and all scenarios to help us improve,” Adams explained.

“It’s more are you part of the solution and do you want to be here and do you want to be part of something great. And if the answer is no then we’ll make those decisions.”

This comes after Eichel, Reinhart and Ristolainen were once again part of a team that finished in last place and failed to make the playoffs for another season of their career while they have yet to play in the postseason ever.

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