Watching the game from the press box as he did last night was a new experience for Jack Eichel, who admitted that patience isn't one of his most oustanding virtues. Yet patience was his emphasis when speaking to the media fon Friday for the first time since sustaining a high-ankle sprain in practice earlier this week.
Eichel said it's the first serious injury he's had to deal with.
"Obviously my ankle doesn't feel too good but I think the worst part is definitely [mental]," Eichel said. "You want to be out there with your teammates so badly and you miss it, you miss going on the road with the guys … That's probably the hardest part for me."
Video: EICHEL: Injury Update
Eichel said the plan is for him to remain in a boot for roughly 10 days, but the timetable beyond that point is uncertain. The knee scooter he's using to walk should look familiar; it's the same one Robin Lehner used when recovering from his own high-ankle sprain last season.
In talking to Lehner and other teammates who have experienced the injury, Eichel said the best advice he's received is that there will be days when he feels better, as if he could lace up his skates and hit the ice. Unfortunaetly, that won't be the case.
His primary focus is waiting until he's 100 percent to avoid risking re-injury. Until then, he'll work with the Sabres training staff to learn as much from his predicament as possible.
"It is what it is," he said. "Injuries are part of the game. We play a physical game, we play a fast game, so it's important that I learn to deal with this experience and just make myself better while I'm out and take my time and make sure when I come back I'm able to positively affect the team."