NHL Roundup: Sabres strip Eichel of “C”; Malkin out till Christmas; Tarasenko won’t talk trade request; and injury news
Many NHL training camps held their first day of on-ice workouts. Teams from around the league reported their injured but the biggest news came out of Buffalo.
Although it was not unexpected, the Sabres announced that Jack Eichel failed his physical and will need surgery. Then GM Kevyn Adams stripped him of the “C”.
NHL Roundup: Sabres remove “C” from Eichel
“I spoke to Jack two days ago, I spoke to the team yesterday and addressed this, Jack Eichel is no longer the captain of the Buffalo Sabres,” Adams said. “From our perspective, the captain is your heartbeat of your team, and we are in a situation where we felt we needed to make that decision.”
In the end, that’s not the worst thing Buffalo has done in the situation. Although the CBA is on their side, and they believe in their team doctors, they refuse to let Eichel have the surgery he wants.
“We were hoping to avoid surgery, but it is needed,” Adams said. “At this point, Jack is not willing to move forward with what our doctors are suggesting, the fusion surgery, so we’re going to continue to work toward solutions.”
The dispute over neck surgery has been chronicled extensively. Eichel is asking for an artificial disc replacement, a surgery that no active NHL player has ever had, although it has been successful in other sports. NFL QB Peyton Manning being the most high-profile of them all.
As far as the possibility of a trade, there was a limited trade market before his injury was well known because of his $10M cap hit. There’s even less of a market now since the Sabres demands continues to ignore said facts.
Malkin out till Christmas?
There were whispers over the last few days that Evgeni Malkin could be out longer for the Pittsburgh Penguins then was first reported.
Today, general manager Ron Hextall revealed that Malkin will miss at least the first two months of the season. Penguins’ analyst Phil Bourque was on NHL Radio and said he would be shocked if Malkin was back before Christmas.
Malkin, 35, injured his right knee on March 16 in a game against Boston and was sidelined for 23 games before making his return on May 3 against Philadelphia. He underwent surgery in early June.
The Penguins will also open the season without captain Sidney Crosby, who had wrist surgery in early September and is expected to miss eight weeks.
Tarasenko won’t discuss trade demand
St. Louis Blues forward, Vladimir Tarasenko asked to be moved this offseason. The 29 year-old was not happy with the way the organization dealt with his shoulder injury and subsequent surgeries.
Before camp started, Blues GM Doug Armstrong weighed in on Vlad. “I guess my (hope) is that he’ll be playing so good that he won’t want to be traded,” he said. “And we won’t want to trade him.
Tarasenko has come to camp in phenomenal shape and is ready to move on.
“My mindset is good. Happy to be with the guys,” Tarasenko said. “It’s been a weird summer, but it’s going to stay between us – between me and (GM)Doug. I’m here to work. As long as I play here, I will work 100%. I’m 100% healthy.”
“It’s all behind us. I don’t see the reason to discuss it now,” he continued. “Camp starts, you know, and I don’t want to be a distraction in the room. Like I said, I’m here to work. I’m healthy and I’m happy to play hockey again.”
Notable NHL Injury News
- Capitals announced the Nicklas Backstrom will miss training camp
- Montreal Canadiens had five players fail physicals:
- Carey Price (knee – out for camp)
- Mike Hoffman (LBI – may miss start of season)
- Paul Byron (hip – out till December)
-Field Level Media contributed to this report