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A Statement From Jack Eichel’s Agent

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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SYF's avatar

[eats popcorn]

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/30/21 at 10:14 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Sounds to me like the procedure he wants carries higher risk. I wouldn’t trade for him.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 07/30/21 at 10:14 PM ET

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I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. All this drama and injury concern, and while yes, the Sabres have sucked during his tenure, it’s obvious that he alone can’t lift a team from that level. Maybe he would fit and succeed with a team that’s already filled with talented players, but is that team actually going to trade for him right now?

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 07/30/21 at 10:49 PM ET

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What did I say yesterday about being in control of the process?

Posted by beantownredwings on 07/30/21 at 10:52 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Sounds to me like the procedure he wants carries higher risk. I wouldn’t trade for him.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 07/30/21 at 10:14 PM ET

Not really. The risk is that it hasn’t been done on an NHL player—but it has been done on plenty of athletes with success. Other teams know what he wants to do and are still interested in acquiring him. It’s just they aren’t going to pay an outrageous ask knowing the flat cap, money owed, and risk of not being able to fully recovery. It’s not just the full recovery risk.

Without NHL comparables the team wanted a conservative approach of rest and rehab. But that rest and rehab will soon get in the way of a recovery time table from surgery and cause him to miss NHL games.

See teams can determine what a player does with their body until an independent arbitrator decides the final course of treatment if a players and the team’s doctors disagree.

It’s a mess (mainly because the athlete doesn’t have final say in a medical decision regarding his body) and Eichel just put the Sabres on the clock.

Posted by d ca on 07/31/21 at 12:55 AM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

The risk is that it hasn’t been done on an NHL player—but it has been done on plenty of athletes with success.

Ah ok. Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 07/31/21 at 08:37 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The “Artificial Disc Replacement” they’re talking about is an anterior cervical diskectomy with fusion. The bulging portion of the disc that’s pressing against a spinal nerve(s) is removed and replaced with either an artificial-bone material or a piece of the patient’s own hip bone. Once it’s in place, titanium plates are screwed into the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc.

I had this done in May of 2000. The surgery was on a Friday and I was back working on the computer on the following Monday wearing a cervical collar. But that’s a far cry from what Eichel would have to go through in order to be ready for NHL-level hockey.

The biggest risk for him would be from a direct hit to the spot where the plates are attached to the vertebrae or a sudden twisting of the neck that would cause those plates to come loose. If either of those things happened, there’s a risk of damage to the spinal cord itself.

On the other hand, having spent a few years doing patient education material for the Chief of Neurosurgery at Blodgett Hospital here in Grand Rapids, I can tell you that the chances of “rest and rehab” eliminating Eichel’s pain/discomfort from a bulging disc are very slim. And there’s the chance that he could get hit in a way that the disc would actually rupture (which is what mine did). Then a diskectomy would be mandatory because the pain is almost unbearable.

In the end, Eichel seems to be willing to take the risks associated with a diskectomy. The Sabres are not. And since they’re the ones who would have to keep paying him if he gets hurt after the procedure, it’s understandable from a business standpoint.

If other teams are willing to take that risk, then the Sabres will have to decide what their bottom-line price is for him. Otherwise, they’re probably have to pay him his full salary while he sits up in the press box on LTR until his contract is up.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/31/21 at 10:55 AM ET

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Not really. Sabres want rehabilitation or, if unsuccessful, fusion surgery. Eichel wants disc replacement surgery. Here are some explanations: https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/artificial-disc-replacement-or-spinal-fusion-which-better-you
Spinal fusion is routinely performed for athletes who have herniated discs and rehabilitation is not successful. Disc replacement is a new method and I don’t think it has been tried on active athletes. In theory, it allows a better range of motion and less wear and tear on other discs (a common problem with spinal fusion). However, it’s a new method, and there are very few long-term studies.

Posted by Davor on 07/31/21 at 12:14 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 07/30/21 at 10:49 PM ET

The Wings will have plenty of cap space after signing UFAs…

... you know, just sayin’. wink

Posted by RedMenace from A Miserable Existence on 07/31/21 at 01:00 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by RedMenace from A Miserable Existence on 07/31/21 at 01:00 PM ET

I meant RFAs. Jesus.

Posted by RedMenace from A Miserable Existence on 07/31/21 at 01:01 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Disc replacement is a new method and I don’t think it has been tried on active athletes.

Posted by Davor on 07/31/21 at 12:14 PM ET

It may be true that it hasn’t been tried on active athletes but it’s nowhere near a “new” method. I had it done 21 years ago. And it wasn’t a new procedure back then.

Simply fusing the vertebrae together with a titanium plate doesn’t address the bulging disc material that’s impinging on a nerve that passes through the foramen of the disc. It simply stabalizes the discs and helps alleviate some of the discomfort.

In my experience with the neurosurgeon that I worked for, artificial disc replacement surgery was always accompanied by a fusion of the discs. The disc replacement provides the relief from pain and the fusion provides the stability.

If the Sabres think simple fusion is less risky than disc replacement with fusion, then I’m not sure where that’s coming from. There’s relatively little difference in the risks between the two surgeries. They’re both invasive procedures that involve going thru the front of the neck and working around the main arteries in the neck.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/31/21 at 01:09 PM ET

Paul's avatar

If interested, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet spoke with the Dr. on the procedure.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/31/21 at 01:32 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet spoke with the Dr. on the procedure.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area

Well, that clears things up a lot. Things have obviously changed a lot since I was doing patient education material. “Artificial disc replacement surgery” obviously isn’t an “anterior cervical discectomy with fusion.” Just a misunderstanding of the terminlogy on my part.

Dr. Prusmack does an excellent job of explaining the difference between the two, the advantages of one over another, and why the artificial disc replacement surgery is a good option for Eichel. Very interesting stuff.

The artificial disc itself (which I was mistaking for the older artificial bone graft that I had) is a pretty amazing piece of technology.

So my apologies to Davor for misunderstanding the issue, and thanks to Paul for helping an old guy learn something new.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/31/21 at 02:40 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Good stuff all, thank you for sharing. This is an interesting situation that may set new standards for athletes choosing their own medical care.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 07/31/21 at 04:33 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The surgery was also similarly performed on Rob Gronkowski BEFORE he joined the TB Buccaneers and eventually became on impact player in the team’s Super Bowl victory.

I think, in my honest honest opinion, I would let him have his surgery as he wants and then do what Gronkowski did (and, yes, I know he was already retired but he was persuaded by Brady to play another year with the Bucs):  have the surgery, spend a whole year in rehab (as opposed to retiring from the game like Gronk) letting the muscles around the neck get acclimated with the new disk, have monthly evaluations to examine the progress of recovery, and little by little resume contact drills.

When he’s NHL ready to play, find him a mean, bad-tempered, scoring power forward/enforcer who will protect him like Yzerman had with Probert. 

Just my opinion…

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/31/21 at 05:21 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Just my opinion…

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/31/21 at 05:21 PM ET

I like it. Actually solid thoughts/advice

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 07/31/21 at 06:32 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I like it. Actually solid thoughts/advice

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 07/31/21 at 06:32 PM ET

The only hitch:  WHO is going to pay for all that?  I believe this is the second part of his contentious debacle with the Pegulas.  Maybe I’m jaded by Mike and Marian Ilitch’s immense generosity in allowing Yzerman to have an unprecedented osteotomy performed on his wreck of a knee and they paid for it because they thought so much of him.  The Pegulas only see assets in both the Bills and the Sabres, it appears.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 07/31/21 at 09:26 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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