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Golden Knights star center skating again after neck surgery

Updated December 2, 2021 - 4:26 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Golden Knights center Jack Eichel has started skating less than three weeks after he underwent surgery for a herniated disk in his neck.

A video of Eichel doing a couple of laps on the ice surfaced on Instagram from Brandon Wong Hockey on Thursday and was reposted on the NHL’s official social media accounts. Wong is a former professional hockey player and currently is a skills and player development coach, according to his online biography.

The original Instagram post indicated Eichel was skating at a rink in North Carolina, believed to be Extreme Ice Center just outside of Charlotte. It was previously reported Eichel is set to do a portion of his rehabilitation there for the next three weeks.

Eichel had artificial disk replacement surgery Nov. 12 in Denver, and the Knights said Eichel’s doctor described the procedure as successful and without complications. The timeline for Eichel’s return remains unchanged, and he is still expected to be out for three to five months.

“I think whenever you have a surgery like this you definitely want to have goals and set things in place for when you think and when you want to try and return,” Eichel said last month. “But you have to be able to adjust. You kind of wait and see how things go. You hope for the best but prepare for the worst. In that case, obviously I’m hoping that it’s a three-month recovery, and after three months if I’m ready, to get back to doing what I love.”

Eichel, 25, was acquired from Buffalo on Nov. 4 in a blockbuster trade for forwards Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and two draft picks. He hasn’t played since being injured March 7 against the New York Islanders.

Buffalo wanted Eichel to undergo a fusion surgery for his herniated disk, and the sides feuded for months over his treatment leading up to his trade to the Knights. He is the first NHL player to undergo the artificial disk replacement surgery, though it has been performed on numerous other athletes.

Eichel scored 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 games with Buffalo after he was selected No. 2 in the 2015 draft.

“Obviously I would have loved to have been fully healthy at the beginning of the season and playing hockey,” Eichel said after the trade. “But I’m here now, and I’m excited to be here, and I’m excited to attack this recovery process and get back on the ice.”

Coyotes game not on TV

Friday’s game against the Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, will not be on TV and requires a subscription to ESPN+ or Hulu.

There are two more Knights games this season that are available only on the streaming service: Feb. 1 against Buffalo and March 17 vs. Florida.

ESPN+ can be accessed on computers, smart TVs, gaming consoles, phones, tablets and more platforms.

Knights sign first-round pick

Forward Zach Dean signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Golden Knights, the team announced Thursday.

Dean, 18, was selected in the first round of the 2021 draft and has nine points (four goals, five assists) in seven games with Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after returning from injury.

He was named to Team Canada’s selection camp for the world junior championship along with Knights defense prospect Lukas Cormier.

Silver Knights game PPD

The Silver Knights’ game at Bakersfield was postponed because of American Hockey League COVID-19 protocols, the league announced Thursday.

The teams were scheduled to play Friday. No makeup date has been determined.

The Silver Knights’ next game is Dec. 10 at Rockford. Until then, the organization has been directed by team medical staff and the AHL to follow enhanced COVID protocols, according to a news release.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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