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Do NHL Teams Control Too Much?

On Monday, Buffalo Sabres F Jack Eichel was very transparent in his end-of-season interview with the media. Aside from the obvious that he’s disappointed with his season-ending injury, at the 5-minute mark of the interview below, Jack expresses how “[he has] been a bit upset about the way that things have been handled since [he] was hurt “, suggesting there’s “been a bit of a disconnect ” between the organization and himself.

At 22 minutes, Jack is asked by Paul Hamilton, of WGR Sports Radio, if he wants surgery or doesn’t want surgery and why he doesn’t just make that decision for himself since it’s his body. Eichel’s response appeared to make him uncomfortable although he shared enough to suggest he had no control over surgery being an option, based on contract stipulations and the CBA.

This poses some concern when it comes to players and their health, however, given contract stipulations and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA – it does make sense. Under their contracts, NHL players receive their full salary while on long term injured reserve (LTIR) – which means they remain under full contract with their team which pretty much leaves the team in charge of the player and any rehabilitation or recovery options available; with them having the final decision on course of action.

Do you think players should have more control over surgery options that may assist them in their day-to-day life outside of hockey? Do teams hold too much power when it comes to player injuries and recoveries?

The full interview with Jack Eichel can be seen below.

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